One fifth of adults have considered suicide — Wee

Dato Wee Hong Seng (file pic)

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KUCHING, Oct 28: According to the Mental Health Foundation, one in every five adults has considered taking their own life at some point.

This was quoted by advisor to Medical Health Association Sarawak Dato Wee Hong Seng who, quoting the same source, further pointed out that one of every six adults experience symptoms of a common mental health problem such as anxiety or depression on a weekly basis.

“Nearly half of adults believe that in their lifetime, they have had a diagnosable mental health problem, yet only one-third have received a diagnosis,” said Wee at World Mental Health Day 2017 Celebration held at International College of Advanced Technology Sarawak (i-CATS) West Campus here today.

Highlighting the fact that people are living in an increasingly digitised world, Wee reminded the public of the downsides of this fast-paced and efficient environment.

“Breaking down of barriers of all forms through digital mediums such as the Internet has meant that our pace of life has increased tremendously where we all strive or even struggle to keep up with it.

“Other possible downsides to this digital era we live in may even include unhealthy forms of ‘stress release’ ranging from the increased availability of illegal substances online, to even pornography.

Pui (second left) presents his book titled, “My Story: Recovering From Mental Illness” to Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian (fourth left) at the World Mental Health Day 2017 Celebration, themed “Mental Health in the Workplace held at International College of Advanced Technology Sarawak (i-CATS) West Campus while Wee (fifth left) looks on.

“These may all lead to some form of addiction one way or another,” said Wee who further pointed out that the situation was further aggravated by the competitive environment.

“To add salt to the wound, our society tends to stigmatise mental health issues and these issues are often brushed off with one excuse or another,” said Wee, citing the example of depression being read as laziness.

He said mental illness should be viewed as a condition such as high blood pressure that could be improved through medication and treatment and not stigmatised.

Citing the case of Alan Pui who shared his story of how he recovered from bipolar disorder in “My Story: Recovering from Mental Illness”, Wee said better understanding and less stigma will lead to far less suffering for those with mental health problems.

He said mental health patients may feel that it was a very lonely path but he reminded them that they were not alone.

“If one out of six people suffer from it, you are far from being alone. The loneliness is not a fact; it is merely the illness speaking,” said Wee. — DayakDaily