Mental health: Children as young as eight reaching out for mental support

KUALA LUMPUR: Over 100,000 individuals have received mental support services from the Mental Illness Awareness and Support Association (Miasa) from August 2020 until March this year, says its president Anita Abu Bakar.

She said from this number, those in the 25- to 40-year-old age group made the most calls, while eight-year-olds were the youngest callers.

In a Bernama report, Anita said this situation arose because many individuals, including children, had lost their support systems during the Covid-19 pandemic, coupled with the pressure of not being able to meet and interact physically with teachers and classmates.

“This has resulted in many, including children, who do not know the way to express their feelings when confined to their houses, or whose parents are busy. Due to a combination of factors, many have mental health issues.

“Thanks to social media, many of them were able to reach out to us, and from here, we offer them assistance sessions with their parents’ permission.

“Unfortunately, some of them are already in a bad situation ... depressed, having extreme anxiety, and some are even suicidal,” she said at the closing ceremony of the Kick for Mental Health charity football match organised by Miasa yesterday.

The event was launched by National Alliance on Mental Health patron Senator Datuk Ras Adiba Radzi at the Kuala Lumpur Football Stadium.

In her speech, Ras Adiba urged the community not to be ashamed and to immediately seek support if they suspect they have mental health problems.

She also said it was not an offence for a person to seek mental help because not all things in life can be controlled according to one’s wishes.

“Don’t be ashamed because we are fragile. It is important for us to reach out (to get support). We need to realise that it is okay not to be okay ... no one is perfect,” she added.

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