KUALA LUMPUR: A 2017 study showed that one out of 10 Malaysian youths contemplated suicide, revealed Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman.
The Youth and Sports Minister said that the findings of the 2017 National Mental Health Survey showed that 10 percent of 5.5 million youths had thought about committing suicide.
He said that it is a sign of the seriousness of the state of mental health faced by the people, especially youths.
“A 2017 study showed that one out of 10 youths have thought about committing suicide.
“While that may not seem like a huge figure, that means someone around us today (had contemplated suicide).
“(The study shows that) One out of five youths are beset by depression and one out of ten youths feel pressure.
“It is a major issue that is not visible (to the open eye),” he said in his speech at the launch of the Young Minds Take Charge programme at Melawati Mall here today.
Organised by Selayang Hospital’s Psychiatry and Mental Health Department and Universiti Teknologi MARA’s (UiTM) Faculty of Medicine, the event seeks to raise public awareness on the mental health issue.
Among those also present were UiTM Selangor Branch Rector Prof Datuk Dr Abu Bakar Abdul Majeed.
In his speech, Syed Saddiq urged parents, school teachers and university lecturers to not treat the issue lightly as youths afflicted by mental health issues may not have the same mental fortitude as others.
He urged family members, youths’ peers and educators to listen to the problems affecting youths rather than dismissing the problem as trivial.
He pointed out that youths had a tendency to not share their emotional and mental-related issue openly out of fear of being stigmatised by the rest of society.
He noted as an example that it is unfortunately common for people to not regard issues like bullying seriously, as this may worsen the mental state of youths involved.
“There may be those among our friends who suffer depression. Not everyone share the same mental fortitude as us.
“If we ignore their plight, they may get suck further into depression, and it may become too late later (if the victim commits suicide among others).
“In this struggle, everyone has a role to play. Parents need to pay close attention to their children as they can act as early intervention (to help resolve the mental health issue).
“Do not regard psychiatrists as an enemy and mental health issue as taboo.
“If we are ashamed and turn this issue into a taboo, it would lead to fear (of youths) to share their problem with others.
“Imagine how difficult it would be for the child to share it (mental issue with the parents), what more with their peers and teachers,” he said.
Syed Saddiq urged staff of institutions of higher learning to be sensitive to the mental plight suffered by students there.
He said that change in societal attitudes toward mental health can improve as developed nations take the matter seriously.