October 23, 2023
KUALA LUMPUR – There is a rising trend of mental health cases among youngsters which is worrying, says Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa (pic).
She said that the National Centre of Excellence for Mental Health (NCEMH) will develop a mental health action plan to tackle the crisis among children and teenagers in the near future.
“I see a rising trend in mental health issues among our younger generation.
“(This happens in) both children and teenagers,” she said in her speech at the National Mental Health Day celebration here yesterday.
“As per our statistics, there are some 424,000 children who are facing mental health problems. That is a huge number,” she added.
She said that as children and teenagers are the future of the country, the high number of mental health cases among this group is worrying.
“We need early intervention to ensure that our children will not deteriorate to a more serious state when it comes to mental health,” she added.
On measures taken to mitigate the problem, she said the Health Ministry has the Mentari programme, which is an outreach initiative that focuses on reintegrating people with mental health problems into society.
The ministry also works with the Education Ministry and other agencies to combat the problem through early detection and intervention, said Dr Zaliha.
During the event, Dr Zaliha launched the Mental Health Psychosocial Support during a Crisis or Disaster Module (MHPSS), which is aimed at training healthcare personnel to handle mental health cases.
She said the module was developed following the constraints faced by mental health professionals – especially during the Covid-19 pandemic – and now at least one MHPSS team has been created in every district clinic and hospital.
The ministry has also developed a Training Module on Suicide Prevention – for healthcare frontliners such as those from the Fire and Rescue Department, Civil Defence Department, Welfare Department personnel as well as the police – to handle suicidal behavioural cases.She also introduced the MyMinda feature on the MySejahtera application at the event, which allows users access to screening, psycho-education resources and a psycho-social helpline.
The ministry also launched the “Mental Health Belongs To All, Stop The Stigma” campaign to improve literacy on mental health issues and prevent stigma and discrimination against sufferers of mental health issues.