Circular No. 86/20: Social Distancing…Mental Isolation? The Effects of MCO on Mental Health (21 Jan 2021)

Please be informed that the Young Lawyers and Chambering Pupils and Building, House, Library & Members’ Welfare Sub Committees are jointly organising a webinar entitled “Social Distancing…Mental Isolation? – The effects of MCO on Mental Health”. With the “new normal” and the additional stress faced by Lawyers due to the pandemic, we hope that the webinar can help guide our members on how best to safeguard their mental health during these difficult and unprecedented times.

Brief Summary of the Webinar

With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, Malaysians are subjected to a new normal, the Movement Control Order (MCO) and all of its subsequent varied forms. This restriction to social connectivity imposed by the MCO is so alien to Malaysian lifestyle that some view it as a form of isolation.

Isolation is strongly linked to depression, anxiety, and cognitive decline, and reduces resilience factors such as self-worth, sense of purpose and feeling valued. This lack of social connection heightens health risks as much as smoking 15 cigarettes a day or having alcohol use disorder. Research has also found that loneliness and social isolation are twice as harmful to physical and mental health as obesity.

This Webinar visits our experience in ‘Social Distancing’ and its effect on the human mental health. This journey reviews what we learnt from the SARS era and recently published evidences from the COVID era. The session traverses through the effects of social distancing in some of the most affected groups; people with psychiatric illnesses, people in addiction, the elderly, children, victims of domestic violence and population left displaced and unemployed.

Last but not least, investigating the effects of isolation on the common Malaysian….is this just the tip of the iceberg? Or are we heading towards a mental pandemonium?

Particulars of the Webinar are as follows:

Date21st January 2021 (Thursday)
Time3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
CPD1 CPD point

About the Speaker

Sivakumar Thurairajasingam currently holds the position of Deputy Head (Education) of School, Clinical School Johor Bahru, Monash University Malaysia. Qualified as a psychiatrist, Sivakumar is an Associate Professor in Psychiatry at Monash University Malaysia and a visiting Consultant Psychiatrist to Columbia Asia Hospital Nusajaya Johor.

Sivakumar has been practicing in the field of Clinical Psychiatry for more than 19 years. He teaches, trains and talks on various topics pertaining to Psychiatry and Psychological Medicine. He is trained and specializes on the use of Motivational Interviewing (MI) and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) in the clinical field.

He specializes in Addiction Medicine and has been working in the field for more than 19 years. He has a vast experience of managing agonist treatment clinics, as a national trainer for the National Drug Substitution Therapy (NDST) Program and running of workshops on Addiction Counselling and Treatment.

He is also the current President of Intan Life Zone, an NGO working in the field of HIV and Harm Reduction servicing the ‘most at risk population’, comprising of Intravenous Drug Users, Commercial Sex Workers, Transvestites and Homosexuals. Sivakumar is also a researcher into the fields of Mood Disorders, Suicide and “Co-Occurring Disorders”.


Please take note that admission is free but advance registration is required.

To be registered and to view on the on the Crowdcast Platform, please submit the following details by email to the Secretariat ( on or before 20th January 2021 (Wednesday).

  1. Name of participant(s) and the corresponding Membership Number/Petition Number;
  2. Name of legal firm; and
  3. Email address of each participant.

Once you provide the Secretariat with the above details, you will receive an email with the registration link for the Webinar. Participants will also receive slides (if any) subsequent to the Webinar by way of email.

CPD points will be given upon completion of the whole session to participants who have attended until the end of the event and filled up the Attendance Form successfully.

We look forward to your participation. In the meantime, we hope that you are keeping safe and healthy!

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