Deputy minister to meet PPR communities over study citing suicidal thoughts among youths

KUALA LUMPUR: Reports of youths in people's housing projects (PPR) having suicidal thoughts has prompted the Deputy Local Government Development Minister to meet communities there.

“I want to learn and understand the issues they face instead of relying solely on media reports," Akmal Nasrullah Mohd Nasir said in response to a supplementary question by Ahmad Fadhli Shaari (PN-Pasir Mas) in the Dewan Rakyat on Monday (March 20).

He added that the ministry was also looking into increasing the size of people’s housing project (PPR) homes to at least 750sq ft (about 70sq m).

“We will try implementing this later this year, alongside revamps to facilities and designs of the said homes to ensure they are more comfortable for living.

“There is also a need for programmes to empower these communities. This is not just a matter of the children's future but safety as a whole,” he said.

On Saturday (March 18), it was reported that 13.4% of children and teenagers living in PPRs in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor had thoughts of suicide or self-harm due to the pressures of life.

The report quoted a study by the Institute for Health Behavioural Research and the Health Ministry in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef), which also found that 12.3% of this group had mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.

Deputy Health Minister Lukanisman Awang Sauni said the study on "Contributing Factors to Psychological Distress, Coping Strategies and Help-Seeking Behaviours among Adolescents Living in the Klang Valley’s People’s Housing Projects" was conducted at 37 PPRs involving 1,578 children and teenagers aged between 10 and 17.

He said the factors contributing to mental health problems among this group included economic issues, cramped living conditions and peer pressure.

Those suffering from problems can reach out to: Mental Health Psychosocial Support Service (03-2935 9935 or 014-322 3392); Talian Kasih (15999 or WhatsApp 019-261 5999); Jakim’s Family, Social and Community care centre (WhatsApp 0111-959 8214); and Befrienders Kuala Lumpur (03-7627 2929 or visit for a full list of numbers and operating hours).

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