Counselling Corner's Mini Survey in Yangon, Myanmar

Published on February 3, 2020

During the recent LGTB event in ThaKhin Mya park, Counselling Corner organised a range of activities that all focused on self-expression, peace of mind and mental health awareness. People from all ages and gender were encouraged to make drawings to express their feelings; an activity that was very popular as over 1000 drawings were made during the 3 days. Some people preferred to take these home while others exhibited the drawings at the booth with displays of hearts, love and the rainbow as well as personal stories of people and feelings that are important to the artists. A huge, white canvas was put at the booth for people to each post-it notes with the personal feelings and emotions like “I am here, I miss you”, “I forgive you” or “love is more beautiful than fighting”. 

 

Counselling Corner had a team of 12 volunteers to help during the event and explain people about mental health and what to do if you or a person close to you is suffering from it. The booth also did a mini-survey amongst visitors to the festival to find out the perception and myths of Myanmar people about mental well-being and illness. In total 223 people picked a statement about mental health and had to guess whether the statement was correct or incorrect. U Aung Min Thein, Counselling Corner founder and Australian trained psychotherapist analysed the outcome and mentioned in an interview: “although the number of people surveyed is too small to draw decisive conclusions, the results are interesting enough to encourage organisations working in mental health in Myanmar to conduct bigger surveys in the future so we know what misconceptions there are amongst people and we can address these in communication.” 

Of the total 223 people that gave an answer on a statement, a total of 58% choose the correct answer indicating that there is quite some common knowledge about the illness. Statements that stood out as people struggled to have the correct answers were: 

 People with mental health illness are a bit like the weather, unpredictable and scary. 

 

85.71% of the respondents think this is correct while in reality the vast majority of people with a mental health issue are very stable and the pattern of illness symptoms are predictable and can be treated. Mental health illness is not infectious, does not harm other people and there is no reason to be scared for people with a mental health problem.

There are no stigma and discrimination for people who have mental health problems. 

80% of the respondents think there is no stigma or discrimination while Counselling Corner experiences that the majority of their clients coming for a private counselling session in Yangon feel they are being stigmatised and are ashamed to let other people know about their feelings and problems. According to overseas studies, 9 out of 10 people with mental health problems experience stigma and discrimination. 

 

A statement that many people answered correctly was: 

One in four people have a mental health problem 

87% of the respondents had indeed the correct answer and it’s indeed very good to see that people visiting the &Proud’s Yangon Pride event are aware that mental illness is just like any other disease and it can happen to anybody. 

Counselling Corner organised a ceremony on Saturday 1 February at The Able in Bogalay Zay Street to explain a few of these results to the media and to thank all the volunteers for their eager participation during the festival. During the ceremony U Aung Min Thein called for more awareness in Myanmar about mental health and a better understanding amongst Myanmar people, whether part of the LGBT community or not. He also announced the launch of a new “basic counselling skills training” of 10 days (2 hours a day) that Counselling Corner is starting on 17 February 2020.

About Counselling Corner 

Counselling Corner is a community-minded organisation, we sincerely believe that emotional healing and personal growth are within your reach. Counselling Corner is founded in 2018 and is committed to our mission of improving the lives of others through counselling, psychotherapy and empowerment by advocacy, facilitating positive social change within communities and  improve mental health services in Myanmar. We offer a variety of counselling and psychotherapy services. See also www.counsellingcornermm.com  

About U Aung Min Thein 

U Aung Min Thein is a licensed clinical psychotherapist and the founder of Counselling Corner which offers psychological support to individuals, couples, families and groups. He specialises in working with clients struggling with anxiety, depression and relationship issues. U Aung Min Thein has had notable success assisting clients in navigating difficult life changes, identity issues, relationship troubles, indecision as well as issues with sexuality and sexual identity. His efforts have helped clients resolve communication issues, which have led to improved intimacy, connection, self-understanding and relationship satisfaction. See also: hep://www.counsellingcornermm.com/en/your-therapist

About the &Proud Yangon Pride festival 

&PROUD is a LGBT organisation that organises LGBT events throughout Myanmar. The Yangon Pride event is one of the awareness and fun events and it is taking over the city in a celebration of Myanmar’s only LGBTIQ festival. The event is held for three days of the festival include a Drag Night, a Hero Awards and many performances in ThaKhin Mya Park. www.andproud.net/

About the Able 

“The Able”, a sign language book café opened on Bogalay Zay Street in Botahtaung Township, Yangon. It’s a unique place, for those both hearing and hearing-impaired customers. This café serves traditional Myanmar food and the place doubles as a book café. Customers are invited to read and buy rare books to read whilst sipping their coffee. Founders Ko Myo Kyaw Thu and Ma Su Myat Aung opened the café with a few friends. They enjoy working with hearing-impaired staff, and named the café to help change some perceptions about their abilities. Staff aren’t the disadvantaged ones, for at this cafe they are “The Able”. 

For more information, pictures of the event in ThaKhin Mya Park or requests for interviews with U Aung Min Thein , please contact to Ma Panhtwar     

e-mail        panhtwar@counsellingcornermm.com or      Mobile:    +95 9 664017251

 


Category(s):Mental Health in Asia, Mental Health Professions, Prejudice / Discrimination

Written by:

Aung Min Thein

Aung Min Thein is a licensed clinical the psychotherapist and the founder of Counselling Corner which offers psychological support to individuals, couples, families and groups. He specialises in working with clients struggling with anxiety, depression and relationship issues. Aung Min Thein has had notable success assisting clients in navigating difficult life changes, identity issues, relationship troubles, indecision as well as issues with sexuality and sexual identity. His efforts have helped clients resolve communication issues, which have led to improved intimacy, connection, self-understanding and relationship satisfaction.


Aung Min Thein approaches his therapy practice by providing a safe space where, clients can focus on their current life challenges. He believes a collaborative process between the client and therapist leads to greater self-awareness and personal freedom, which allows both to focus on the present and onto greater things in the future.


Working from a psychodynamic perspective, Aung Min Thein helps clients to understand internal conflicts in order to help them gain deeper insight into the underlying cause of their anxieties, depression or indecision. He believes that an understanding of one’s emotional journey can bring about new levels of confidence in coping with life’s challenges. Aung Min Thein also adopts a humanistic person centred approach and is experienced in the major models of Solution Focused and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy.


As two-year post-graduate in Psychotherapy and Counselling from Western Sydney University, Aung Min Thein has acquired international skills and knows how to use these in a Myanmar context. He has worked in the field of mental health in a variety of settings including INGOs, LNGOs, and community mental health clinics in Myanmar and Australia. He is one of the first overseas trained counsellors in Myanmar practising in Myanmar language and understands the cultural context of Myanmar society and customs.

Aung Min Thein belongs to Counselling Corner in Myanmar

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