Haliza Hashim aims to enhance awareness on mental health through mercy UK

Last update: 02/01/2020

By Hasnah Jusid

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 2 -- Many may have heard of Haliza Hashim as TV3’s current affairs correspondent for the UK and Europe, but few may know that she is into humanitarian work as well.

The all-in-one reporter, camerawoman and editor of the Media Prma Group, who also goes by the name of Haliza Hashim-Doyle, is the chairman of the Medical Relief Society Malaysia (Mercy) United Kingdom (Mercy UK).

Mercy UK is a fully-registered medical and humanitarian charity based in London which was established in 2014 and is closely associated to Mercy Malaysia.  

After covering many humanitarian missions and learning of the problems faced by humanity in the developed and developing worlds, she began to devote herself to humanitarian work.

Haliza said that while medical aid and humanitarian missions are two of the most common needs in countries suffering from catastrophe, war, and conflict, she is also aware that the country she resides in today, though developed and free from conflicts, also has its own woes.

Speaking to Bernama here recently, Haliza said in UK, mental health was a big issue as it  contributes to societal problems and is becoming a silent killer.

This year, Mercy UK will be providing a helping hand through an extensive project on mental health awareness talks, starting with Malaysian students in UK and later, to all students and young people in UK. 

For a start, the project will involve a collaboration with the United Kingdom and Eire (Ireland) Council for Malaysian Students (UKEC), an umbrella body for Malaysian student societies across Britain and Ireland; London-based Education Malaysia; the Public Service Department, and Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA)

Haliza said under Mercy UK, there are medical professionals and volunteers with psychiatric and psychological training who can share their knowledge of mental health and spread awareness.

She added that Mercy UK will also be sending a medical team consisting of British medical experts to Cambodia in mid-January as part of a cleft lip-and-palate surgery project for underprivileged children.

Named as the 'Make Me Smile' programme, it targets 25 to 30 children, and the service is offered for free.

Meanwhile, she said, under the 'Winter Wellness' programme, Mercy UK has been collaborating with Southern Women's Aid Network to run health and nutrition talks for homeless people in Croydon, south of London, while providing them with hygiene packs and nutritional food parcels.

It was also through Mercy UK that Haliza joined the humanitarian mission to the Rohingya refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, in February 2018, alongside two doctors from UK and four from Malaysia. Her story on the plight of the refugees, titled  ‘Help for Rohingya’, was aired on TV3’s ‘Majalah 3’ programme  in March 2018.

The organisation also helped the victims of the Sulawesi earthquake, flood victims in York, UK, donated food to those affected by the Grenfell Tower fire in London, and deployed volunteer doctors to Mercy Malaysia’s primary health clinics in Cox’s Bazar for Rohingya refugees. 

Haliza said as its chairperson, her biggest challenge was funding.

“We organise fund-raising events annually and apply for grants from the local councils and authorities. You need a good project with great impact (for the beneficiaries), “ she said, adding that she hoped that in 2020, both Malaysian and UK corporations will help support and donate to Mercy UK's mental health project, through its website www.mercy.uk.com

Besides Mercy UK, Haliza also supports two other charities - the Pan Asian Women's Association (PAWA), a charity that helps provide education for girls, and the ‘Save Wild Tigers’.