“Mental health among youth, a national issue”- Syed Saddiq

By Fachri Mirza

GOMBAK, 20 May 2019: Youths faced with mental health problems have been urged to seek proper help from the experts, a talk session on mental health was told recently.

A forum focusing on the issues was held last Friday (17 May) at Econs cafe, IIUM Gombak campus, aimed at encouraging those with mental health problems to speak up and seek assistance from the experts.

Panelists at the event were prominent figures like Youth and Sports Minister, Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, Public Health Physician and Sector Head of Mental Health, Dr. Nurashikin Ibrahim, as well as the President of the Malaysian Psychiatrist Association, Dr. Hazli Zakaria.

The forum focused primarily on mental health and the need for the public to be aware of the problems and exposed themselves to the knowledge. It was noted that there are many people out there unwilling to speak up on the problems of mental health faced by them because they fear being stigmatised by society.

Mental health is not the same as mental illness for mental health is about mental well-being or psychological state such as emotions, thoughts, feelings, ability to solve problems and to overcome difficulties and build social connections.

While mental illness is a disorder that affects the way people think, feel, behave, or interact with others. Mental illness include trauma disorder, eating disorder and addictive disorder.

“Mental health has become a youth and national issue, so let’s have more discourses and dialogues to cope and minimise these issues and to make people talk about their issue,” Syed Saddiq said.

The Youth Minister showed his enthusiasm to bring the knowledge on mental health to the people, especially to the youths since many of them have been suffering from poor mental health.

The discourse was held due to the increasing number of mental health of late among children and youth in Malaysia and the lack of knowledge to address the issues.

Dr. Hazli stated, “Interestingly, if we are able to reach our best mental health we could become the best potential in ourselves. The way we can minimise symptoms of poor mental health is by socialising.”

“We start with the youths, they have the power to change and we recommend that the Ministry of Youth and Sports have more sessions on a mental health problem or illness with young people,” Dr Hazli added.

Dr. Nurashikin, who is a public health physician, also said that social support is important for the youth where social support can be friends, surroundings, family members and relatives.

She said,”We should listen to those who suffered from these problems and not be judgemental. And we should also convince them to seek help from people who have the knowledge, and let them talk.”

“Mental health and illness is everyone’s business and should be handled properly, and the government has provided funds to NGOs that promote events on mental health issues,” added Dr. Nurashikin.

Concerned of mental health being a national issue, Syed Saddiq categorically stated: “Mental health can be impacted from the anxiety of stress. Knowledge of mental health is still poor among our people, so we must spread the knowledge wider so that those faced with problems would come forward, speak up and seek proper treatment.”

“The government has provided platforms and programmes to help those suffering from such illness. We give them hopes to have a second chance, so I hope they would come forward,” the Minister stressed. ***

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