Light of Hope for Mental Health: Normalizing Perception, Ending Stigma

In a letter to the News Straits Times newspaper, Dr Tham Sin Wan a Doctor of Public Health candidate from the Department, and Dr Nurashikin Ibrahim and Dr Feisul Idzwan Mustapha from the Ministry of Health shared the message of hope for those with mental health issues.

This article is in response to several articles on suicide that published last week in New Straits Times – “Olympic figure skater Alexandrovskaya dies aged 20” ( July 19), “Elvis Presley’s only grandson commits suicide aged 27”(July 13), and “Despite objections, funeral held for Seoul mayor who committed suicide” (July 13). In Malaysia, there is a similar tragedy that happened to a 15-year-old student in Kota Kinabalu recently (July 15), the trend is increasing and worrying. Suicide is a serious public health problem however, it is preventable.

There is a strong link between suicide and mental health disorders. Based on the review paper, stigma is one of the major barriers to access to healthcare. One of the ways to reduce the stigma is by educating the public to raise awareness. In the article, she shared the burden of the issue, the challenges, tips of mental hygiene and channels to seek help.

The objective of the write up is for public advocacy. A better understanding helps to normalise mental health issues or illnesses in the population.

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