22/10/2023 06:34 PM

PETALING JAYA, Oct 22 (Bernama) -- The Ministry of Health (MOH) will develop a mental health action plan for children and teenagers to overcome the rise in mental health cases involving that group.

Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa said the increase in mental health problems among juveniles is a worrying trend because they are the future of the country.

“An action plan for the mental health of children and adolescents will be developed so that this problem does not worsen to the point of suicide,” she said after attending the 2023 World Mental Health Day celebration here today.

On Oct 14, Dr Zaliha announced that based on the National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS) report, a total of 424,000 children in the country experienced mental health issues throughout the past year and this trend is seen to be increasing post-COVID-19.

Meanwhile, she said the awareness of Malaysians regarding mental health is still low and the Ministry of Health will implement various approaches so that the people know more about the importance of mental health, especially during pandemic period.

Dr Zaliha said people can now get access to various services related to mental health through digital platforms, including the MyMinda module on the MySejahtera application.

“Through MyMinda, users can check their mental health status by answering healthy mind screening questions to assess themselves, get psychoeducational materials and access psychosocial support services,’ she said.

At the event, she launched the Training Module on Suicide Prevention First-Line Responders aimed at improving knowledge and training front-line workers in the handling of suicidal behavioural cases.

Also launched was the Training Module on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Services (MHPSS) which was developed to train other health personnel such as family physicians, medical officers and paramedics in health clinics nationwide.

Dr Zaliha said the module was developed following the constraints of mental health professionals, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic and now at least one MHPSS team has been created in every district and hospital.

The Mental Health Belongs to All, Stop the Stigma Campaign was also launched, which aimed at raising public awareness and dealing with stigma and discrimination against individuals with mental health problems through conventional media such as television and radio as well as digital and social media platforms.

Dr Zaliha said all parties need to play a role to care and preserve mental health as well as deal with mental health problems in the community and eliminate stigma and negative perceptions of people with mental problems.

Due to the stigma that individuals with mental illness are incurable, this results in a wide gap for mental patients to seek proper treatment, she added.


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