Chairperson of Optimal Health Program Malaysia Dr. Umi Adzlin Silim opened the 1st Asia Pacific Symposium of Optimal Health Program with a well known proverb: ‘if you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together’.

This allegorical message resonates with the innovative symposium held in Putrajaya 15-17 October 2019.  The trilateral partnership between Indonesia, Malaysia and Australian mental health services forms a strong foundation for an innovative plan to promote wellness and recovery in  integrated physical and mental health practices.

With an increasing burden of people experiencing chronic medical and mental health conditions in Asia, World Health Organization have called for an integrated health systems approach with primary health care at the forefront, to prevent and manage chronic conditions.  In both the South East Asia and Western Pacific regions, there is broad consensus on the need to develop strong, resilient and responsive health systems across Asia by efficient health systems with integrated care.  Overall care delivery continues to be widely assessed as fragmented and diverse, especially in the empowerment of primary health care providers to handle chronic illnesses.

To respond to this challenge, Australia, Indonesia and Malaysia clinical leaders have built a partnership to explore a collaborative, salutogenic approach to healthcare planning, using the Optimal Health Program (OHP) in Asia. OHP’s wellness and recovery concepts invite patients to go through a journey full of self-reflection, pondering on their optimal health wheel, discovering their strengths and vulnerabilities, stressors and strategies including their collaborative partners and eventually making changes, visioning and goal setting to self-manage themselves in what matters most to them.  OHP as a versatile psychological intervention – structured but yet flexible – is suitable for mental and physical health conditions. OHP provides a framework for a mental health and psychological care across all spectrum of wellbeing; all level of health services; from professionals to consumers.

With the 2019 event hosted by Malaysia, the symposium featured innovative teaching and research activities in Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia and China.  This stage of the partnership called “Women in Healthcare leadership: clinical networks driving holistic approaches (Malaysia, Indonesia)” is supported by the Australian Government through the Australia-ASEAN Council of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.  It hopes to build practical strategies for leading culturally responsive change in healthcare settings.

The symposium highlights clinical work in different settings that used the Optimal Health Program to empower community to be more proactive in engaging in health care in Asian communities.  This provided context specific examples of integration of mental health into priority health care platforms, by using sustainable and multi-sectoral approaches for primary care and NCD services.  It also provided a key opportunity to promote research, and to foster international collaboration in research that matters to our region.


Day 2 group    aac-logo-cmyk-tag-stackedAusnow_wire_cmyk_ASEAN_300

October 2019 Workshop,

Supported by  the Australian Government through the Australia-ASEAN Council of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade