Mental health issues must be taken seriously — MP

Dr Yii (third from left) with students and teacher at a booth.

KUCHING, August 30: Mental health is a serious issue and has become a growing concern in Malaysia, especially among the young, noted Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii.

Launching ‘BeFrienders Kuching’ at Lodge International School here recently, he said depression was the most common psychiatric disorder in people who chose to die by suicide.

“In Malaysia, based on the National Health and Morbidity Survey 2015, every three in 10 adults aged 16 years and above have some sort of mental problems.

“Even during the last parliamentary session, I debated on the need to address the issue and the need for more trained personnel to deal with this growing issue,” Dr Yii said in a statement today.

He praised Lodge International School for taking the initiative to address the growing number of mental health issues and suicidal tendencies faced by adults and school children.


At the launch, the students created interactive activities to promote awareness of the issue and to play their part to be ‘friends’ with those who needed support or show signs of distress and suicidal tendencies.

Dr Yii reminded people who are going through rough patches to always remember that it is “not a weakness” to ask for help.

Every year, suicide is the 15th leading causes of death globally for all ages. It is responsible for over 800,000 deaths, which equates to one suicide every 40 seconds. In many European countries, it is the leading cause of death in those aged 15-24.

In 2012, 39 per cent of global suicides occurred in the South East Asia region, of which Malaysia is a part.

Dr Yii said suicide is the result of a convergence of genetic, psychological, social, cultural and other risk factors, sometimes combined with experiences of trauma and loss.

“Thus, it is important that we all play a part in suicide prevention by raising awareness about the issue, educate ourselves and others about the causes of suicide and warning signs for suicide, show compassion and care for those who are in distress in our community,” he said.

‘BeFrienders’ is a hotline initiative where members of the public who are suicidal or distressed can call. The volunteers, counsellors and doctors present can provide emotional support and counselling services.

They currently operate from Monday to Sunday from 6.30pm to 9.30pm and the hotline number is 082-242800. The services offered will be expanded when there is more manpower.

“I want to encourage members of the public to spread the news. I also hope those trained in psychotherapy and counselling can volunteer with them so that together we can help those in need, including our children in schools. Life is precious,” Dr Yii said. — DayakDaily