KUALA LUMPUR, July 23 — Many young people in Malaysia are afraid their employers may discriminate against them if they disclose any mental health problems they’re facing, Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman said today.
The youth and sports minister told Senator Raj Munni Sabu in the Senate that in his discussions with youths, the main problem they highlighted was stigma in Malaysia against mental disorders.
“Most young people do not feel like their rights will be protected if they expose themselves to the public,” Syed Saddiq said.
“For example, does it mean that when they reveal this issue or problem, their employers won’t discriminate against them? Will their parents and society accept them as they are?”
Syed Saddiq said the Youth and Sports Ministry has called for dialogues throughout the country about mental health, including at public universities.
He said the first university they visited was Universiti Islam Antarabangsa Malaysia, where he, a Health Ministry official, and a local lecturer talked about mental health.
“We need a good relationship between all ministries to resolve this issue. From the Youth and Sports Ministry’s side, we need to ensure that when we promote a healthy lifestyle, we don’t just touch on the physical aspect but also the mental.”
After a 16-year-old girl in Sarawak killed herself last May, an insurance company in Malaysia launched a mental health benefit to cover six mental illnesses, including depression and schizophrenia.