Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Mental Health Talks by Dr Phang for 2017

February 9, 2017 by  
Filed under General

Bring your friends and family to attend the series of mental health talks organized by KL Buddhist Mental Health Association (BMHA) at Sentul Sri Jayanthi Buddhist Temple (Saturday, 3-5 pm).The talks will be delivered by Dr. Phang Cheng Kar, a consultant psychiatrist and the founding president of BMHA. They talks are absolutely FREE; registration is not required. Come…































There’s a change of date and topic for the July BMHA talk.

I Can’t Sleep – Please Help Me!


instead of…

Non-Violent Communication: Four-Step Method for Expressing Anger Compassionately (22/7/2017).

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MINDFULGym April 2017 Intake

February 6, 2017 by  
Filed under General, Mindfulness

Yeahoo! MINDFULGym is back by popular demand. MINDFULGym is a community project. Seats are limited (maximum of 20 participants per intake). Acceptance into the program is on first come, first served basis and subjected to the decision of MINDFULGym trainers. Please register only if you're sure that you could commit to ALL 5 Saturday sessions (April 1, 8, 15, 22, 29) at Sentul Sri Lanka Buddhist Temple. There will be a bonus session (optional) on 6/5/2017. For registration, click HERE. Kindly notify Jasmine Chiam ( upon submission of registration. 

















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Annual General Meeting – 2016

March 19, 2016 by  
Filed under General

BMHA is 6 years old. We're grateful for the support from Ven. B. Saranankhara which enables us to serve the mental health needs of our community. Maha SADHU to the committee members for their selfless service in organizing various BMHA activities.





























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Donation from Berjaya

March 28, 2015 by  
Filed under General

KL Buddhist Mental Health Association and other NGOs receiving grant for community service on Berjaya Founder's Day.

Thanx to the generosity of Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Vincent Tan, we receivedd RM 30 000.00 to fund our activties. 

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Forum on Nature of Consciousness

February 15, 2015 by  
Filed under General

What is consciousness? Where does consciousness reside in the body? Where does consciounsess go upon death? Divide Consciousness…Subconscious…Brain-Dead…Glasgow Coma Scale…Neurobiological basis of consciousness…































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Safer “Safe Solution for Depression”

December 23, 2014 by  
Filed under General

Is there such a thing as "Neurotransmitter Test," or "Anti-Depression Psychotherapy?" Where can I find out more reliable information on depression?

























We hereby wish to comment on an article, “Safe solution for depression” published in the Sun newspaper under the “Alternative Healing Special Issue” (page 20) on 18 December 2014, so that the public can have better understanding of depression. It is great that the article is attempting to do its part in mental health education. However, we find that some of the information needs clarification.

1) It was mentioned in the article that “neurotransmitter test identifies whether a patient has low serotonin and if they do, appropriate psycho-nutritional supplements can be recommended…”

Yes, it is true that one of the factors contributing to depression is low serotonin level. However, “neurotransmitter test” is NOT the usual way how mental health professionals (e.g. clinical psychologist, psychiatrist, registered counsellors) assess and diagnose depression. The scientific validity of “neurotransmitter test” for diagnosing depression has not been established. Therefore, one will NOT be offered such test in routine clinical practice for diagnosing depression. Then, how is depression diagnosed?

These are the steps that mental health professionals would usually do:

  1. Get to know your background (e.g. work, family, childhood).
  2. Enquire about signs and symptoms of depression and other psychological disorders.
  3. May clarify and confirm the signs and symptoms with your friends or family (only with your consent).
  4. Help you to identify the factors that contribute to your depression.
  5. A psychiatrist or medical doctor may do physical examinations and blood investigations if necessary (e.g.  for thyroid disease that may contribute to depression).
  6. Educate you and your friend or family on depression.
  7. Ask about your previous treatments for depression and propose a treatment plan, e.g. talk therapies with or without antidepressant medications.
  8. May monitor your progress with certain validate psychological questionnaires, e.g.  Beck Depression Inventory.

2). It was reported that “Anti-Depression Psychotherapy” is a treatment that helps the patient mitigate their conditions by challenging their thinking, emotions and behaviour.”

Yes, there are several effective psychotherapies or talk therapies for depression (e.g. cognitive behavioural therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy, marital therapy, problem solving therapy, art therapy). But, we are not aware of any psychotherapy by the name “Anti-Depression Psychotherapy,’ as reported in the article. The choice of psychotherapy will depend on many factors (e.g. causes of depression, patient’s preference, therapist’s expertise, affordability of treatment fee).

3). It was cited that “this is the advantage of dealing with depression using psychotherapy instead of medication.”

Some readers may misinterpret this to mean “Anti-Depression Psychotherapy” and “Psycho-nutritional supplements” are good replacements for medication. Therefore, this statement can confuse the public because antidepressant medication is an integral part of treatment for some patients (e.g. those with severe depression, depression with psychosis), which goes hand-in-hand with scientifically proven psycho-social and nutritional treatments. Stopping medications for depression abruptly and without professional advice is a serious matter and could lead to worsening of illness or even suicide. Hence, it is advisable that such decision should only be made after discussing with a psychiatrist.     

Which is the best treatment? Antidepressant medication, psychotherapy or psycho-nutritional supplements? There is no best or one-size-fits-all treatment for depression. Effective treatment depends on many factors (e.g. type of depression, severity of depression, factors contributing to depression, patient’s preference, and therapist’s experience). Hence, it is helpful to consult a mental health professional to discuss on an individualized and comprehensive treatment plan.


Readers who are interested in learning more information about depression from a local context may refer to the e-book, “I’m Still Human: Understanding Depression with Kindness” by Dr. Phang Cheng Kar, a consultant psychiatrist from Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM). ( Some of the useful information available from the book include answers to the following questions:

  • ·         What should I do if I or someone has depression?
  • ·         Who should I consult for professional help?
  • ·         How can I get help from mental health professionals?
  • ·         12 ways to encourage a person to seek help?
  • ·         What to expect from a counsellor or clinical psychologist?
  • ·         What are the causes and treatment options for depression?

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,


Phang Cheng Kar, M.D. (UPM), M.Med.Psych. (UKM)

Senior Medical Lecturer & Consultant Psychiatrist (UPM)

President, KL Buddhist Mental Health Association


Alvin Ng Lai Oon, DPsych (Murdoch)

Associate Professor in Clinical Psychology

Sunway University


Pheh Kai Shuen, M.Clin.Psych. (UKM)

Lecturer and Clinical Psychologist

Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman


Chiang Khai Chong, M. Clin Psych (UKM)

Clinical Psychologist

Turning Point Integrated Wellness Sdn. Bhd.


Keng Shian Ling, PhD in Clinical Psychologist (Duke)

Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology

National University of Singapore




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Career Planning Workshop

October 3, 2014 by  
Filed under General

The 2-day workshop aims to help you in learning about career planning including discovering your interest, aptitude and values, and how to develop a plan to bring you towards a career that you would enjoy and have a passion in. There will be a host of fun-filled activities and interactive discussion during the workshop to help you learn.


























Parents are encouraged to participate in the workshop so as to be able to guide and support your children in making career related choices.

For detail information about the programme and workshop fees, please refer to the attached brochure and poster

Come join us now for this exciting workshop! We are limiting the number of participants to only 30 pax each for child and parent.

For registration – HERE.


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Understanding Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity with Kindness

September 29, 2014 by  
Filed under General

Understanding Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity with Kindness

A Forum on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender & Queer Issues

Reported by Mettānandī



“There’s nothing in the early Buddhist scriptures suggesting that homosexuality is sexual misconduct”, said Āyasmā Kumāra Bhikkhu from Sāsanārakkha Buddhist Sanctuary (SBS) in a forum on “Understanding Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity with Kindness” held on July 6th in Samādhi Vihāra, Shah Alam.


About 130 people attended the forum organised by KL Buddhist Mental Health Association (BMHA), Buddhist Missionary Society Malaysia (BMSM) and Young Buddhist Association of Malaysia (YBAM).

The forum on “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ)” issues featured 5 panellists, namely Āyasmā Kumāra Bhikkhu from SBS; Dr Keng Shian Ling, clinical psychologist and assistant professor in National University of Singapore (NUS); Ms Jellene Eva, human rights activist working with Justice for Sisters; Mr Pang Khee Teik, co-founder of Seksualiti Merdeka; and Ms Angela M. Kuga Thas, co-founder of Knowledge and Rights with Young People Through Safer Spaces (KRYSS). The forum moderator was Dr Phang Cheng Kar, president of BMHA who is a consultant psychiatrist in Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM).

Dr Keng began by explaining several terms such as “gender identity”, “biological sex”, “sexual orientation” and “gender expression”. She pointed out that based on research done by scientists, sexual orientation appears to be based primarily on biological factors such asgenetics and hormones. Contrary to common public perception, being LGBTQ is unrelated to the individual's lifestyle. As of 1974, homosexuality is no longer classified as a form of mental illness. She also pointed out that reparative or conversion therapy to change the sexual orientation of LGBTQ individuals is based on the idea that homosexuality is an illness, sin, or aberrant behaviour. The potential risks of reparative therapy are great: these include depression, anxiety, and self-destructive behaviour. Therefore many mental health professional organisations, including the American Psychiatric Association, oppose the use of such therapy.


Dr Keng said that LGBTQ individuals deserve kindness and understanding, not judgement and discrimination. Experiences of prejudice and discrimination may fuel stress and research suggests that there is a strong relationship between discrimination

 and stress-related mental health problems such as anxiety, depression in LGBTQ individuals. LGBTQ individuals who experienced rejection, discrimination, victimisation or violence have higher risks of suicidal tendencies. Prejudice towards the lifestyle of many Malaysian transgendered individuals (known as “Mak Nyahs”), has forced them into the sex industry.

Citing the early Buddhist scriptures, Āyasmā Kumāra showed that homosexuality existed around the time and place of the Buddha, yet the scriptures don’t include homosexual acts in the definition of sexual misconduct.

“Abandoning sensual misconduct, he abstains from sensual misconduct. He does not get sexually involved with those who are protected by their mothers, 

their fathers, their brothers, their sisters, their relatives (clan), or their Dhamma; those with husbands, those who entail punishments, or even those crowned with flowers by another man.”


Āyasmā Kumāra also shared his personal experiences of meeting his own phobia towards LGBTQ individuals and how he overcame it.

“Meditating over this issue, I noticed that the pain around it is due to view-clinging to what is supposedly ’normal’. Imagine if you were born into a society 

where people commonly accepted a variety of genders and sexual orientations. Raised in such a society, how would you be? Wouldn’t your perception of ’normal’ be different?”

“Speaking for myself, yes, it certainly would. So, any negative reaction I have over this issue is conditioned. It’s not good or bad. It’s simply conditioned.”

“So, how can we overcome LGBTQ phobia? Just recognise this conditioning.”

Āyasmā Kumāra, who has a few meditation students he knows are homosexual, also spoke on how LGBTQ individuals can overcome their phobia of LGBTQ phobia.

“It’s easy to say, ‘They don’t accept me for who I am.’ And you know the pain around that stressful idea. How about turning it around to ask, ‘Do I accept them for who they are: people who are caught in a social conditioning?’”

Speaking openly and candidly of their gender identity and sexual orientation, and their opening up to friends and family were 3 representatives from the LGBTQ community— Ms Jellene Eva, Mr Pang Khee Teik and Ms Angela M. Kuga Thas.

Ms Jellene Eva spoke on her growing up as a transgender and how boxing into the dichotomy of genders made her feel uncomfortable, especially when it wasn’t the gender she identified with.lgbt5

Advising parents to love their children unconditionally, Ms Jellene shared with the participants how grateful she is for parents who do not make her doubt herself. “Being in denial and not trying to understand what the child goes through is not healthy for both parties. Disowning and physically abusing the child is not the correct way to communicate love.”

As a transactivist working with Justice for Sisters, Jellene urged members of the audience to be an ally: to speak out when violence is being inflicted upon LGBTQ individuals; to help homeless or depressed LGBTQ individuals because they are, after all, human. “Despite our differences, basic human rights to health and well being is unalienable from all of us”.

Angela, who grew up with supportive and trusting parents, said, “I'm glad my parents didn't make me doubt myself, didn't make me doubt me for who I am, didn't make me feel less of a human being, less of a person, less of their child. I think such trust, much more than kindness between parents and their children, is important. That trust makes kindness that much more real. It is more than being superficially civil”lgbt7

“Parents should learn to trust that they've done well in the way they've raised their children, to feel assured that their children know what is right and what is wrong. They need to be confident that their children will grow up to be the kind of people they can be proud of. Children need to know too, even if indirectly, that their parents will never abandon them, never disown them.”

As a trainer-facilitator who is focused on guiding young Malaysians to become principled leaders based on the five core values of human rights—dignity, diversity, respect, equality and choice. Angela urged parents and people in general to confront the discomfort they or their peers may have with the 


LGBTQ individuals. “Take a step back before judging, and question what exactly makes you/them uneasy”.

Pang, who identifies himself as a gay, spoke on the angst of ’having crushes on boys’ as a teen studying in Singapore; on his joining a Christian ministry to overcome his ’sexual brokenness’ and finally, the liberating acceptance of his sexuality. The journey to realising that there is nothing wrong with him was the most difficult part. “Other people are the ones who think there is something wrong with you, therefore it is not your problem; it is theirs. That’s the reason I came out – because I realised the problem is not with me but with those who think there is a problem. Why should their problem with homosexuals affect me?”

Highlighting the challenges faced by LGBTQ children and their parents arising from discriminatory policies, Pang urged members of the audience to establish an alliance to support family and friends of LGBTQ individuals within the Buddhist community.


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BMHA in Tzu Chi Hospital Survival Course

July 27, 2014 by  
Filed under General


The Hospital Survival Course was organized by Tzu Chi Malaysia for final year and recently graduated medical, nursing, and pharmacy students. It was held at the Tzu Chi Jing-Si Hall in Kepong on 29/6/2014 (Sunday), and participated by more than 200 students. Among the topics covered in the course was on coping with stress in hospital. KL Buddhist Mental Health Association is honored to be given the role to conduct this part through an one-hour sharing by its founding president, Dr. Phang Cheng Kar. The participants were taught various stress management skills: mindful stretching and muscle relaxation; deep and mindful breathing; mindful imagery; and gratitude workout using the magic formula "Google-WWW-Yahoo." They had a wonderful time learning the exercises are are simple, practical, and useful. With that, hopefully Tzu Chi & BMHA can have more meaningful collaborations in the future to benefit the community.

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MH-17 – Condolences…

July 19, 2014 by  
Filed under General

BMHA would like to express condolences on those who have passed away in the MAS flight MH17 crash.

May those who have left be in a happier state of existence. May the meaningful memories of them stay forever in our hearts…

May the collective power of compassion help in healing the grief of those emotionally connected to the deceased, especially their immediate family members and friends…

May the investigation of the craah proceed smoothly and may there peace be abundance in the world….

May we take this opportunity to contemplate wisely on the impermanent nature of existence, remind ourselves to better appreciate our loved ones, and live our lives more meaningfully.


Dr. Phang,
President, BMHA.

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Transforming Problems, Discovering Happiness