PUTRAJAYA: The Covid-19 outbreak has affected many people, including students, according to Professor Mushtak Al-Atabi, Provost and Chief Executive Officer of Heriot-Watt University Malaysia.

In addition to limiting freedom, causing apprehension about job losses, separation from others, and worry about diseases, pandemics are natural catalysts for depression and anxiety in most people, he said.

According to him, the University understands the importance of physical human interaction in building a sense of community that allows students to discover their purpose and develop a sense of belonging.

This was one of the various input gathered during a roundtable meeting on mental health with students and staff held in March, he said.

The roundtable session, moderated by Green Ribbon Group (GRG)’s Advocacy and Programmes executive Marsya Shamshul Bahari, had looked into three areas — the Covid-19 pandemic and its disruptions to daily life; mental health awareness and the experience of stigma among university students, as well as peer support and the importance of having a strong support system.

“A report based on these findings will be published by GRG in 2023,” he said.