EDUCATORS and counsellors need to be trained to recognise symptoms of mental health disorders, especially depression and anxiety, says Perak Health Committee Chairman Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon.
“According to the National Health and Morbidity Survey of 2015 by the Health Ministry, 29.2% of Malaysians aged 16 and above suffer from mental health problems.
“This means that 4.2 million people have mental issues, or simply put, one out of three Malaysians have mental health disturbances.
“Top on the list is depression, which jumped by 18.4% in a single decade, followed by anxiety, which increased by 15% during the same period.
“What’s the reason for the big jump? It may be due to the stress of everyday life, work stress, financial crisis, family issues, long working hours or perhaps even substance abuse and domestic violence.
“As we move towards becoming a developed nation, we need to ensure our people have good and stable mental health,” Dr Mah told reporters before opening the 5th Ipoh Mental Health Conference, last week.
He added, although the survey involved those aged 16 and above, it did not mean younger children did not suffer from mental health issues.
“If possible, preschool teachers should also be provided with the information and skills to help them cope when faced with these problems.
“Complications from mental health problems can lead to suicide,” he said.
Noting that there is no health without mental health, Dr Mah said mental health issues translated to not just treatment costs but also losses in productivity and working days.