KUALA LUMPUR: Depression will be a major mental health illness among Malaysians by 2020 as more people are expected to experience increased stress due to work and family pressure, says Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye.
The Patron of the Malaysian Psychiatric Association (MPA) said according to the 2017 National Health and Morbidity Survey, 29% of Malaysians had depression and anxiety disorder compared with 12% in 2011.
"Most people find it hard to deal with the problems they face at work and cannot handle the stress, and it is harder when an individual faces problems from family members and do not receive emotional support.
"There are higher chances of people keeping their thoughts and emotions to themselves when they do not find a way to vent out their frustrations," he said in a statement on Sunday (Aug 5).
Lee said the survey done by experts on the prevalence of depression among Malaysians showed a 50% increase in the number of depressed patients from 2011 to 2015.
Therefore, society needs to address the illness and develop preventive strategies and effective programmes in managing mental wellbeing.
Some of the measures to prevent depression and anxiety are to exercise consistently, sleep at least eight hours a day and avoid social media platforms, such as WhatsApp, at least 45 minutes before going to bed, Lee said.
He added that according to the University Malaya Medical Centre of Psychiatry Department, depression and anxiety were treatable if detected early. -Bernama