KUALA LUMPUR: The incident where a student allegedly hanged himself after he could not cope with the stress caused by his schoolwork should be a ‘wake-up call’ that the reality of mental health issues also affect teenagers, said the Patron of the Malaysian Psychiatric Association Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye.
Therefore he said, more awareness campaigns on mental health must be organised in schools and the government must also train more counsellors and psychologists to help those suffering from stress, anxiety and depression.
“I am saddened by this latest tragedy. There must be a holistic public health approach by the government that takes into consideration cross-sectoral collaboration and training of NGOs to address social determinants and psychosocial factors contributing to poor mental health.
“The Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Youth and Sports must also collaborate to help address mental health issues among the young people,“ he told Bernama.
Lee who is also the Mental Health Promotion Advisory Council member said police statistics showed that there were more than 500 cases of people committing suicide or attempting suicide every year in the past four years.
A total of 1,696 people also died committing suicide, while 625 failed to end their lives between 2014 and February last year and more people, especially youths, have also contacted Befrienders KL to share their problems. It received 5,217 emails and 26,927 calls in 2017 compared with 3,443 emails and 24,821 calls in 2016.
The National Health and Morbidity Survey 2017 on mental health among youths has also revealed that one out of five adolescents feels depressed; two out of five feel anxious; 11.2% have suicidal ideation and 10.1%had attempted suicide, he added.
Last Saturday night, a student was found unconscious after he was believed to have hanged himself in the bathroom of his flat in Jalan Paya Terubong, Taman Sri Relau, Georgetown, Penang.
Police investigation revealed that the student was not interested to study besides his achievement in his studies was weak and frequently complained to his parents about too much school work.
Meanwhile, Head of the Counselling Unit of Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI), Dr. Fauziah Mohd Saad said parents should be more sensitive about symptoms of mental health disturbance faced by their children particularly those who belonged to the youth group.
She said signs of mental health disturbances included loss on interest on daily activities, keeping to oneself, a change in behaviour and a change in appetite. — Bernama