App to gauge youths’ mental health


KUALA LUMPUR: An app that allows Malaysian youth to screen themselves for mental health issues is in the works, says Universiti Malaya Faculty of Medicine deputy dean (Post Graduate) Prof Dr Maznah Dahlui.

The mobile app, being developed by the university, can help users identify if they are going through anxiety, stress or depression.

“We hope they can screen themselves, score themselves and seek the necessary help,” she said after the Symposium on Prevention and Early Intervention For Mental Health Problems In Youth plenary session yesterday.

Many youths prefer to seek help on the Internet due to the stigma surrounding mental health disorders, said Prof Maznah, adding that the user would remain anonymous.

“If they are categorised into one of the three issues, then they can seek help,” she said.

Prof Maznah said the app would also include modules to allow the user to seek early help.

She added that if the modules do not help, the youth would be re­ferred to the respective health facilities or non-governmental organisations for professional help.

UM Department of Social and Preventive Medicine medical lecturer Dr Nik Daliana Nik Farid said once the screening tool are validated by Malaysian youth, it would be incorporated into the app.

She said the screening tool was in the form of a survey through which users would be scored as having either mild, moderate or severe levels of the problem.

Once the severity of their mental health problem has been identified, the app would navigate the user to advice from experts, she added.

“It will also point to activities that would help the user feel better.”

Dr Nik Daliana, who is also involved in the development of the app, said it was expected to be ready by next year.

Subang Jaya assemblyman Michelle Ng, who was at the event, called on young people with mental issues to seek help.

“Don’t be ashamed, we are here to provide help,” she said.

Those in need of someone to talk to can call the Befrienders KL at 03-7956 8145, or 04-281 5161/1108 in Penang, or 05-547 7933/7955 in Ipoh.


   

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