High Number Of Form 4 Students Screened For Mental Health Problems

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Pic: theSunPic: theSun

KUALA LUMPUR: Many Form 4 students have been screened for mental health problems due to personal and family issues.

This was revealed during a mental health screening conducted on Form 4 students nationwide by the Health Ministry in collaboration with the Education Ministry.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam told theSun that more than 100,000 students who were screened said they go through mental stress.

"From the screening we did in schools, more that 100,000 students have said that they have mental health issues.

"About 79% of them admitted that their mental health issues are caused by either their own problems or family issues," he said.

Earlier in the Dewan Rakyat, Subramaniam said Form 4 students generally go through stress due to preparation for the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examinations, which they will be taking the following year.

"However, many a time, they do not have enough support from families in addressing or handling the mental stress.

"So we must give them empowerment through awareness and education to help them with all the challenges they face," he said.

Subramaniam was responding to a question by Zuraida Kamaruddin (PKR-Ampang), who asked on steps to overcome mental health issues as well as the symptoms.

He said the ministry conducted Depression Anxiety Stress Scale (DASS) under its Healthy Mind Programme among Form Four students in 2,343 schools nationwide.

"DASS screening is conducted to check the status of the mental health of secondary school students to gauge the level of stress, anxiety and depression.

"If the level of stress, anxiety and depression is found to be high, the students will be referred to counselling services or to health clinics for further treatment by family health specialists," Subramaniam said.

He said various integrated mental health programmes have been implemented in all health clinics nationwide to detect mental problems in the community, which include promotional activities via screening to detect the early stage of stress, anxiety and depression among individuals who were at risk of mental problems.

"The ministry is concerned about the mental problem issues in the country. According to a research in 2015, about 29.2% of Malaysians, aged 16 and above, are having mental problems.

"However, this percentage refers to those who are having mental problems and not mental illnesses. There is a difference between mental problems and mental illnesses," he added.

- theSun