Do not neglect people with mental health problems: Wan Azizah

PUTRAJAYA (Bernama) – Malaysians should not neglect people with mental health issues but should instead help them, said Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.

She said it was reported that about 40 per cent of Malaysians experienced mental health problems in their lifetime and a 2017 survey by the Health Ministry found that following health screenings conducted on 273, 203 people, 18,336 were found to be suffering from depression.

“To me, this is not a good indicator for our country,” she said at the launch of the World Mental Health Day 2018 at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre (PICC) yesterday.

Dr Wan Azizah added that she was made to understand according to the latest studies and findings, youth suffered from various mental health problems such as Internet addiction, illicit drug use, bullying, alcohol abuse and smoking, sexual misconduct and truancy.

These scientific studies should raise alarm bells on the mental health state of youth, she said, adding that “We do not want to see our youth derailed and suffering mental health psychological problems when they reach adulthood and old age.”

Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail. – BERNAMA

As a responsible government, she said, the government must plan not just the services and care needed, but also the preventive measures, early intervention and resilience building (identity) towards a healthy future.

Dr Wan Azizah who is also Women, Family and Community Development Minister said Malaysia’s Mental Health Policy should be reviewed to include all aspects needed to create and strengthen early preventive measures.

“As mental health is an important aspect in our daily lives, mental health education should be taught as early as possible. Religious education and values must be created early in order to achieve a healthy future,” she said.

Dr Wan Azizah also said for the good of the community, local universities should share their findings and research in mental health.

She also welcomed the proposal to set up a Mental Health Institute with the aim of achieving a better understanding and treatment of mental health diseases.

Dr Wan Azizah also said the increasing incidence of suicides among Malaysians should not be taken lightly.

She said although a study conducted by the National Suicide Registry in 2009 found the number of suicides was low, at 1.18 per cent per 100,000 people, experts say that the actual number was much higher than that.