LETTER | It saddened me yet again to see a viral WhatsApp message sharing how someone committed suicide at a shopping mall car-park.
I have said it in the past, and I am reiterating the point again - this pandemic will have an effect on the people’s mental health regardless if it is anxiety/stress because of the fear of contracting the virus/losing their jobs/financial woes or even depression due to the falling ill/loss of a loved one.
As we read in the news daily, this is becoming more and more common. In fact, in daily clinical practise I see many patients who come in for other matters but when enquiring further are already showing signs of having depression, anxiety and stress with or without relation to Covid-19. This is indeed worrying.
What can we do as a society to help?
Do not stigmatise mental health issues. It is a general health issue that can affect anyone just like the common flu.
Recognise that people who have mental health issues will need time to recover and that family/friends' support is extremely important.
Recognising someone with symptoms and encouraging them to get an early intervention helps with their speedy recovery as many often come in late and their treatment becomes extensive.
I have been advocating a mental health screening for all workers during their regular Socso health screening but sadly it was not considered. A simple Dass-21 scoring can help with early detection.
I suggest that all employers request their staff to take this below screening and if needed (indicated if there is an issue brought to your attention at the end of the survey), please do refer them early for a full mental health screening. The questionnaire which will require 15 minutes of your time can be found here in English and here in Bahasa Malaysia.
If you are reading this, please do spare that 15 minutes and get an assessment done by clicking the links above. If you are reading this in hardcopy form, please feel free to use these QR codes for both languages:
If you know anyone or if you yourself are suffering from mental health issues, there are physicians whom you can see to seek help from. If you would like to seek help but remain anonymous, feel free to contact NGOs like the BeFrienders who are there to assist with advice and emotional support. Their details are as follows. Seek help early as it makes it easier on both the patients and the physicians/psychiatrists.
Skype: BefKL Skype 1 Telephone: 03-76272929
Stay safe and stay healthy (physically and mentally).
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.