Rakan Muda activities can help alleviate mental health issues among youth, says Yeoh

PUTRAJAYA: Rakan Muda activities could aid youths by providing better coping mechanisms for their mental health such as outdoor activities, says Hannah Yeoh.

Referring to the findings of the Malaysian Youth Mental Health Index 2023 (MyMHI23) launched Monday (April 22), the Youth and Sports Minister said 10 Rakan Muda activities serve as the right platform to help cope with mental health issues.

“When you look at the coping mechanism point (from the report), there are four ways youth cope with stress management such as leisure activities, spending time with family and friends, worship or spiritual activities, and outdoor activities.

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“I am happy that these activities correlate with the 10 Rakan Muda activities that address the needs of youth today such as Rakan Litar (racing) and Rakan Digital,” she said during her opening speech at the launch of the MyMHI23 report at a hotel here.

For spiritual activities, Yeoh is hoping to engage with the Religious Affairs Minister for better solutions to help youth deal with mental health challenges.

Yeoh said her ministry is planning to partner with the National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (Finas) to hold more outdoor film screenings to allow families to have access to such pastimes.

“The ministry previously held a screening of the South Korea versus Malaysia football match at a stadium and it was filled even though it wasn’t (a live) game.

“Now, we know that the youth want access to more (outdoor) recreational activities,” she added.

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Yeoh also said the ministry will be presenting the report to the Cabinet to ensure more ministries would be involved in tackling mental health issues involving the youth.

Yeoh said the ministries can now refer to the report to offer better solutions and policies to address mental health challenges among the youth.

She also suggested that the Mentari programme by the Health Ministry be made available at shopping malls instead of hospitals, giving young people better access to experts and specialists.

According to the MyMHI23 study conducted by the Institute for Youth Research Malaysia (IYRES), Malaysian youth mental health scored a 71.91 or moderately satisfactory level, serving as an early indication of potential mental health problems.

MyMHI23 involved 5,867 respondents in seven domains – lifestyle, environment, personal characteristics, life experiences, social support, coping mechanism, and healthy mind –supported by 28 indicators.

The full MyMHI23 report can be downloaded from the following link: https://www.iyres.gov.my/penyelidikan/senarai-penyelidikan

Also present at the launch was Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad.

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