Monday, January 30, 2023

Malaysians’ mental health are at a worrying level, study found that over 70% of respondents showed symptoms of depression

Social NewsMalaysians' mental health are at a worrying level, study found that over...

Mental health problems among Malaysians are now more prevalent following the trend of an increasing number of patients who are seeking medical treatment.

In an interview with Sinar Daily, Malaysian Psychiatric Association (MPA) Secretary Dr Firdaus Abdul Gani said she noticed the number of patients who came for treatment for mental health problems has increased since the Covid-19 pandemic hit up until today, especially involving cases of depression and anxiety.

“This situation occurs because of the many changes and stress in life experienced by almost every individual due to the pandemic.”

“Covid-19 is not only a medical phenomenon, but it has a lot of economic impact and changes in daily routines,” she said.

Meanwhile, the 2019 National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS) showed that about 2.3% or half a million people were suffering from depressive symptoms.

The majority of them were from the B40 group (2.7%), followed by the M40 group (1.7%) and T20 (0.5%). The survey also found that 424,000 or 7.9% of children have mental health problems.

Dr Firdaus said that the change in the new norm of life that restricted movement of high-risk social activities could cause mental health problems such as depression and anxiety, fatigue (burnout) and even suicidal behaviour.

She then cited an online study that involved 1,554 Malaysians published in ‘Clinical Epidemiology and Global Health’ in October 2021 and found that 70% of respondents experienced moderate and severe depression after the third wave of Covid-19 in the country.

Dr Firdaus said the statistics showed that women have a higher rate of both symptoms of depression and anxiety. In addition, those who are single, live in urban areas, and have income or financial problems are at higher risk too.

“In terms of employment, those who are more affected are students and those who do not have a fixed source of income.”

“However, the figures mentioned are based on those who have symptoms of depression or anxiety, which are symptoms of affected mental health and it does not show the actual number of those who have mental illnesses.”

“To diagnose mental illness, a person must get an assessment from a trained medical officer,” she said.

She also said that income or financial problems had been identified as one of the sources of stress that could affect mental health.

After the Covid-19 pandemic, many had lost their source of income and were forced to do extra work to support their families and many also had to work beyond their skills.

“So if the economic problems continue, then the increase in cases of mental illness is also expected to continue,” she added.

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