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Own Your Story #40 with Jolene Chong: Building a career in the field of mental health

Ever since I met Jolene in Own Your Story community, we had a blast working with her to launch initiatives in the realm of happiness and mental health. It is simply wonderful working with a person who is so passionate and knowledgeable about a subject matter that she truly believes in.

Challenges in the field of mental health

Holding a master degree in mental health studies, Jolene’s passion for psychology was ignited by a lecturer who brought the subject to life during her A-level studies.

It is not easy having a career in the field of mental health, specifically autism, that is full of negative perception and stigma. Many people have their own idea and resistant to the cause of emotional issues that are not manifested physically. In Jolene’s work, it has always been an uphill battle to manage expectation, personality, and enable people to see the big picture of mental health.

Decoding the myth in mental health

The biggest myth that Jolene wishes to debunk is that mental health problem is not a choice where somebody chose to stay in their emotional or mental problems. It is a combination of biological factors, the environmental factors, and a person’s childhood.

When a person is sick or physically ill, they naturally think of seeing a doctor and getting medicine or treatment. However, when it comes to emotional and mental sickness, most people do not take it the same way as a physical illness where they seek professional help and not just ‘get over it’.

Personal evolution in the career

After 2 years in her career, Jolene learned to be realistic about life and to flow with it, instead of holding on to certain grand ideas about how life should be like she did while in university.

Jolene builds her confidence gradually and becomes more comfortable being herself, knowing that she has a lot to offer in work and the community she is in. She is grateful to have a supportive work environment where there are many good people who challenge her in a positive way and offer her fresh perspectives.

Now, Jolene is firmer than ever on her big goal to educate people, increase mental health awareness, and making the tools accessible to the public.

Happiness hack

When I asked Jolene if she has any happiness hack, she explained that when people feel stressed, their fight or flight response is triggered, people tend to push themselves forward without acknowledging the emotional pressure.

She advises people to remove themselves from a stressful situation, do something that brings them joy and take time to recharge. People often solve a problem more easily when they are in a different state of mind.

Another tip that Jolene uses to manage stress is to remind herself of the bigger reasons underlying stress, acknowledge that it is part of her responsibility and that she is capable of handling it. Her passion to help children with autism pull her through many difficult situations.

Life well lived

Jolene currently focuses on making an impact in the community by raising more awareness and introducing more tools to address mental health, making knowledge and help more accessible to the general public.

While she used to enjoy living in London, settling down back home in Malaysia gives her a sense of connectedness and offer many great things unique to our country.

To Jolene, a life well lived means approaching life with everything she has to make things good for herself and others, never let fear stop her from exploring what could be.

With a little more care and a little more action, she believes that there is so much that everyone can do.

Own Your Story Podcast features interesting guests with fascinating stories and unique perspectives on life, taking viewers on a journey through the lives of others and ultimately inspire them to embark on an adventure of their own.


Early Autism Project Malaysia | Jolene's FB

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