What It Takes for Malaysia’s Marginalised to Thrive Well
There’s something for everyone at Thrive Well. As a trauma-informed community mental health service provider, Thrive Well offers care and support for individuals, communities and organisations. It aims to be a one-stop centre for those seeking to change their lives around and break barriers within their social groupings.
With a main mission to be Malaysia’s leading trauma-informed care expert, this social enterprise has a wide range of programmes, campaigns and services.
And they make sure that no one is left behind. In fact the aim is not only to help people overcome their pain, but to enable them to help others build resilience and thrive.
This organisation came to life in the midst of COVID-19 in October 2020, when fractures in society began to surface to a greater extent - there was a mental health crisis in Malaysia. According to the 2019 national health and morbidity survey, roughly half a million people in Malaysia reported symptoms of depression. Of that half a million people, 79 per cent of them are from the B40 community. B40 represents the bottom 40 per cent of the household income classification in Malaysia.
Despite being one of the largest groups requiring mental health support, the B40s struggle to afford mental health care.
Confronted by financial struggles, relationship issues, and loss of income, mental health was put on the back burner. As such, a perpetual cycle of stress got built into their lives. Thrive Well seeks to bridge the gap by providing extensive financial aid for psychosocial support services for the B40 community.
The B40s simply cannot afford to get help. They have no way of paying for the services. Thrive Well’s Jom Sembang financial support programme, helps to fund services for these communities. With a ‘pay it forward’ model, when people pay full price for Thrive Well’s services, a portion of the profits earned will go into the programme to provide subsidies to those who need it.
In order to make mental health care more sustainable within vulnerable communities like the B40, Thrive Well looks at preventive programmes that aim to strengthen family units in relation to the community. Their K.A.M.I (Keluaga Akrab Mencapai Impian) programme serves to do just that.
With five sub groups under the K.A.M.I programme, each caters to the needs of specific groups - to improve relationships within families, to help youths with emotional regulation and conflict resolution, to provide peer support for adults and parents, to help young children understand what emotions are, and to raise awareness amongst the public about mental health.
Women like Lalitha and Nur Hazreen have been through the K.A.M.I programme, and are now currently at the highest level of the programme as ambassador peer supporters. Their role is to support other community members by facilitating basic support groups, increasing awareness of mental health in the community, as well as supporting other members who need mental health support, and if needed, referring them to specialised organisations.
Through ambassadors, a ripple effect is created within the community with trusted individuals like Lalitha and Nur Hazreen, who understand the struggles and needs that are unique to their community, and are able to address them with the tools they have learnt in the programme. They have already begun facilitating sessions with other participants.
Thrive Well aims to cultivate sustainable mental health support.