Sook Ning Chua is a clinical psychologist and a visiting scholar at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, where she is also completing an MPH in Epidemiology.
In 2017, she founded Relate Malaysia, a not-for-profit organization which aims to improve mental health in Malaysia through research, training, advocacy and service. Relate Malaysia provides affordable and accessible evidence-based mental health care; produces the ‘Being Human’ podcast, hosts online talks, and webinars to improve mental health literacy and the standard of care; and conducts public health research to inform and influence mental health policy in Malaysia
Relate Malaysia upholds that mental health is a fundamental human right for all. They were the first provider in Malaysia to focus on providing online evidence-based psychotherapy to improve economic and geographical access to mental health care. Sook Ning is currently developing a peer support network in Malaysia to help address the shortage of mental health professionals that leaves many who need urgent mental health care to go without adequate support.
In 2020, Relate Malaysia published the first ever report to estimate the business cost of mental health in Malaysia, drawing national attention to the importance of corporate and government investment in mental health. This report was cited in a directive by the Malaysian Government in January 2022, calling on business leaders to invest in corporate well-being and develop healthy workplace cultures. As a Cheng Fellow, Sook Ning is working on improving peripartum mental health care in Malaysia through policy changes, training primary healthcare providers, and developing a screening and treatment program.
In addition to her social innovations through Relate Malaysia, Sook Ning has been engaged as an educator, clinical psychologist, researcher, and supervisor in Malaysia, Singapore, and Australia, as well as the U.S. and Canada.