Saddiq: All ministries must reach out and help

GOMBAK: The responsibility of helping those with mental health issues must be shared by all ministries, says Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman.

“Mental health issues cut across different ministries,” he said at the “Are you Okay?” forum at the International Islamic University Malaysia yesterday.

He added that his ministry must look into the issue of mental health among youth, alongside ministries such as the Education Ministry, the Women, Family and Community Development and the Health Ministry.

Mental health, he added, is one of the important issues affecting the youth, though many find it difficult to access treatment due to stigma and people dismissing their problems.

About one in five Malaysian students were reported to be affected by depression, he said.

He added that two in five Malaysian students were suffering from anxiety.

However the society, he said, should not rely only on the government to initiate and continue the conversation of addressing mental health issues.

Health Ministry mental health section’s public health physician Dr Nurashikin Ibrahim, who was one of the panellist, advocated for youth to be one of those in the frontline in helping their peers address mental health issues.

The other panellist was Malaysia Psychiatrist Association president Dr Hazli Zakaria.

Mental health issues among the Malaysian youth came under the spotlight when a teenager in Sarawak committed suicide, following an Instagram poll which allegedly encouraged her to do so.

The 16-year-old had uploaded a post on Instagram with the heading “Really Important, Help Me Choose D/L”. D and L were largely taken to mean “die” and “live”.

The girl jumped to her death after 69% of pollsters allegedly supported the decision for her to kill herself.

Padawan district police deputy chief DSP Merbin Lisa said based on the investigation, the girl was suspected of experiencing depression.


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