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The Covid-19 pandemic has had a major effect on many lives, with many facing challenges that have caused stress, be it among young and old. Public health measures, while reducing the spread of Covid-19, can make people feel isolated and lonely, and can increase stress and anxiety levels.

Building upon the World Mental Health Month in October, the Suria KLCC Group of malls that includes Alamanda Shopping Centre Putrajaya and Mesra Mall in Kemaman, will be shedding more light on how people can manage their psychological well-being in simple yet holistic ways.

“As we have always been promoting our malls as safe spaces for the public to visit at all times, using an outlet to educate them about the importance of mental health is a natural extension of what we want to do as a provider of safe spaces. For this, we have partnered with several local organisations to creatively share the message about ways of coping,” said Andrew Brien, executive director of the Suria KLCC Group.

To achieve its aims, Suria KLCC is partnering with the Malaysian Mental Health Association, Befrienders KL, RELATE and the Green Ribbon Group as well as the Ministry of Health, on top of launching a fundraising initiative through the sale of ‘Suria Ribbon Pin’.

Brien believes Suria KLCC is the first mall in Malaysia to drive a mental health awareness campaign at such an extent, by incorporating the creation of safe spaces for the community at large under the theme, ‘We Are With You’.

“We want to create and build a safe space in Suria KLCC as a platform for the community to converge and discuss mental health,” he said. Running from 8 November to 8 December, Safe Space @ Suria KLCC will be a platform to promote engaging activities in relation to mental health. It will be located at Level 1, Ampang Mall from 10am to 10pm daily.

At this Safe Space, the public can learn more about mental health from selected NGOs in a welcoming atmosphere. The Safe Space will also showcase the work of these NGOs. Activities such as workshops, talks and panel discussions by mental health professionals will be held to enhance the level of knowledge among the public.

The welcoming Safe Space will be filled with an educational gallery on mental health – an exhibit of information such as background, statistics and lived experience stories. With this, it is hoped that members of the public will be introduced to the range of mental health services available in the country, on top of knowing when and where to seek help.

As part of fund raising to support mental health-related causes, the mall will also be selling its Suria Ribbon Pin at RM10 each. Safe Space @ Suria KLCC or mental health in general will eventually be a long-term focus of Suria KLCC Group CSR’s campaign for the next one to two years.

Expressing her elation at Suria KLCC’s effort in highlighting mental health, Green Ribbon Group Founder and President, YAM Tengku Puteri Raja Tengku Puteri Iman Afzan Al-Sultan Abdullah said,

“We are grateful to see this initiative by the Suria KLCC Group take off as it addresses something so sorely needed during this pandemic, and our recovery thereafter. The Green Ribbon Group aims to champion a community approach to mental health and this initiative by Suria KLCC is a wonderful example of doing so. I applaud Suria KLCC’s efforts in empowering NGOs such as the Malaysian Mental Health Association, Befrienders and RELATE – another example of how the Green Ribbon Group and Suria KLCC share the same aim. We must keep our conversations on mental health going.” President of the Malaysian Mental Health Association, and policy advisor to the Green Ribbon Group, Datuk Dr Andrew Mohanraj said, “It is important to continuously educate the people in Malaysia on mental health because most tend to stigmatise it. Proper education is important in finding solutions to mental health issues, and in this spirit, this endeavour by the Suria KLCC Group in bringing mental health to the forefront is highly laudable. Education always takes place in little steps, and as far as a  shopping mall is concerned, Suria KLCC has taken a huge, bold step in organising this month-long campaign.”

Influencers who are lending their support to ‘We Are With You’, which will also be extended to Alamanda Shopping Centre and the Mesra Mall, include Harith Iskandar, Dr. Jezamine Lim and Dato’ Chevy Beh. At Alamanda Shopping Centre, a Mental Health Awareness Gallery will also be set up on a smaller scale, replicating the one at Suria KLCC.