Most Read
Most Commented
Universities must activate buddy system to detect students with problems

CORONAVIRUS | Universities must activate the buddy system among students to detect those with problems such as depression.

According to psychiatrist and lecturer at the Faculty of Medicine, International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), associate professor Dr Rozanizam Zakaria, different people have different ways of dealing with the movement control order (MCO), with some students even feeling depressed and stressed with being confined indoors.

“The reality is that different people have different capabilities of dealing with an event or crisis,” he said.

He added that it is important that students suffering depression be given support and it is the responsibility of the authorities or university management to set up a buddy system on campus.

“The concept of the buddy system is to encourage students to look out for each other so that they can help the management tackle emotional and mental health issues among themselves,” he told Bernama when commenting on the psychological and mental state of students who are stranded in their campuses after the MCO was imposed to break the chain of Covid-19 infections.

He lauded the government’s efforts to look after the welfare of these students by providing essential items such as food and drinks during the MCO period.

“At the same time, we have to address their mental and psychological needs too as there may be some who cannot remain positive due to various factors,” he said.

He added that the counselling units in the universities must be utilised to prevent unwanted incidences among the students due to stress, such as self-harm, panic or insomnia which may occur if the MCO is further extended.

Rozanizam (above) said with the loss of physical contact with the outside world, the university’s health unit must become the "one-stop centre" for students to get quick assessment if they suffer mental problems.

“Even better if an online tele-counselling session is held. The universities can provide an outlet for them to release tension, such as by organising volunteer activities within the limits of the MCO like sewing personal protective equipment (PPE) at the university halls.

“For instance, Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) in Dungun has started chilli fertigation activities which fill the time of the students who cannot go out or return home to be with their families,” Rozanizam said.

Meanwhile, a student who suffered emotional stress and depression said she became afraid of being left alone, especially in the dark.

The public university student who only wanted to be known as Hannan said during such times, she suffered palpitations, breathing difficulties, vomiting and had to sleep for more than 10 hours in order to recover.

- Bernama 

Keep up with the latest information on the outbreak in the country with Malaysiakini's free Covid-19 tracker.

Malaysiakini is providing free access to the most important updates on the coronavirus pandemic. You can find them here.

Help keep independent media alive - subscribe to Malaysiakini.

Please join the Malaysiakini WhatsApp Channel to get the latest news and views that matter.