Kuala Lumpur has the highest number of depressed and anxious people in Malaysia, said Health Minister Zaliha Mustafa on Wednesday.
“The state with the highest number of those suffering from anxiety and depression was the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur,” she said in response to a parliamentary question in the Dewan Rakyat.
She added that a 2022 study, where 336,900 individuals were screened, revealed that the most vulnerable were those in the B40 group – Malaysia’s bottom 40 per cent in income – and the urban poor.
She said cost-of-living concerns and relationship problems were among the causes for the mental health issues.
Earlier, Dr Zaliha said that most mental health issues affecting teenagers and young people were due to financial and relationship problems.
Also contributing to this, she added, were factors such as bullying, high-risk behaviour, drug abuse, low self-esteem or having high expectations of oneself.
She said such factors could result in stress, depression and anxiety among the young.
To address this, she said that there are 1,161 government clinics, 58 hospitals and 34 community mental health centres and four mental institutions nationwide that carry out preventive action, early detection and rehabilitation with regard to mental health issues.
She added that several programmes targeting the young have also been implemented by the ministry together with the Education Ministry and the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry.
Among them, she said, was the Pearl Programme – a collaboration between her ministry and the Education Ministry – to improve coping skills and resilience among school students to deal with issues such as bullying and high-risk behaviour. – Strait Times