KUALA LUMPUR, May 20 — Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman urged youths facing mental distress not to shut out their loved ones.
“I am not afraid to admit I have had bouts of depression before. But I am lucky I have had a good support system,” he said at a mental health forum at the International Islamic University Malaysia last Friday .
Highlighting the importance of family and friends, Syed Saddiq stated that the latter played an important role in providing an outlet to voice worries and concerns.
Are You Okey ? Youth Mental Health Dialogue from ECONS Cafe, IIUMPosted by KBSMalaysia on Friday, 17 May 2019
Dr Nurashikin Ibrahim, head of the mental health department of the Ministry of Health who also spoke at the forum, indicated that the suicide rate in the country was 1.2 to 1.5 per hundred thousand people.
She emphasised the need to look at mental health as a cross-cutting multi-ministerial issue and said action to address these issues should not be solely dependent on counsellors.
A student also shared his story at the forum, saying: “My brother and my mother suffers from mental health problems. I am disappointed that my village people look down on them. I am the youngest and I want to help them but I don’t know how.”
Syed Saddiq also said that the issue on mental health or mental wellbeing should not be considered a taboo subject, and must always be treated with care and compassion.
The young minister held the forum after a 16-year-old girl from Kuching, Sarawak, allegedly killed herself when a poll she ran on Instagram purportedly supported her choice to die.