Dzulkefly: Let’s talk about mental health, eliminate stigma

Dzulkefly: Let’s talk about mental health, eliminate stigma

KUALA LUMPUR: Health Minister Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad encouraged Malaysians to voice their views on mental illness in a healthy discourse and stop the stigma attached to it.

Speaking in the Dewan Rakyat, Dzulkefly said that the government was concerned over increasing number of mental health issues, especially among youths who could be suffering in silence.

“The challenges faced in dealing with the ongoing problem of mental health is very worrying. This is especially so following the recent case where a teenager took her own life based on an Instagram poll,” he said.

In his reply to a question raised by Datuk Hassan Baharom (PH-Tampin), the minister added that part of the plan to address the issue is a new mental health campaign, to be held every October known as “Let’s Talk Malaysia”.

The campaign will involve the relevant government agencies and NGOs to educate and raise awareness among the public on mental health issues.

It is also aimed at reducing or eliminating the stigma associated to mental health, and for those seeking professional medical help.

Studies have shown that depression, anxiety and stress affect around 42% of women compared to around 18 to 19% for men.

When it comes to adolescents, he said that one in five are depressed (17.7% girls and 18.9% boys), two in five are anxious (42.3% girls and 37.1% boys) and one in 10 are stressed (10.3% girls and 8.9% boys).

At the same time, he also told the Lower House that his ministry will launch the National Strategic Action Plan Mental Health (2019 – 2025) in September.