Despite technological advancement, mental health issues are becoming more prevalent these days.
According to Deputy Health Minister Datuk Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali, he said that this is because the mental health of children and adolescents is one of the most neglected health issues globally.
He also shared that the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimated that about 10 to 20% of children and adolescents suffer from poor mental health and developmental disorders.
“This is before the Covid-19 pandemic and involves those aged from zero to 18 years old,” he said.
“According to the 2019 National Health Mobility Survey, about 424,000 children in Malaysia have mental problems, but most of them did not seek help.”
Noor Azmi said that one in 8 adolescents aged 10 to 19, and one in 20 children aged 5 to 9 years old were estimated to have a mental disorder (mainly depression) including developmental disorder (abnormal or delayed mental or physical development).
“Notably, suicide is one of the leading causes of death among adolescents aged 15 to 19. Among the risk factors for poor mental health include exposure to violence, peer victimisation, bullying, loneliness, and social isolation,” he said.
He then said that poor mental health can affect children’s general health, learning abilities and participation, thus limiting opportunities to achieve their full potential.
“Those affected require careful support to develop their social and emotional skills to lead a healthy lifestyle,” he added.
Noor Azmi said this when giving a speech at the launching ceremony of Malaysia Country Report and Infographic 2022: Strengthening Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) Systems and Services for Children and Adolescents in East Asia and Pacific Region.
Meanwhile, he also acknowledges the lack of empowerment in existing laws and policies, deficiencies in communication and coordination between sectors, and insufficient funding as factors that limit the services for mental health problems.
As a reminder to all, reaching out for help is not a sign of weakness. If you or anyone you know is facing severe stress or having negative thoughts, reach out to these Malaysian hotlines for help!
- Mental Health Psychosocial Support Service (MHPSS): 03-2935 9935 or 014-322 3392
- Talian Kasih: 15999, or WhatsApp 019-261 5999
- Jakim’s Family, Social and Community care centre: WhatsApp 0111-959 8214
- Befrienders Kuala Lumpur: 03-762 72929