Mental health awareness crucial among students, says expert

11 Sep 2023 11:37am
Universiti Malaya Specialist Centre Psychiatrist Dr Fatin Liyana Azhar - FILE PIX
Universiti Malaya Specialist Centre Psychiatrist Dr Fatin Liyana Azhar - FILE PIX

SHAH ALAM - Mental health awareness among teenagers is crucial in today's fast-paced and demanding world.

Adolescence is a critical period of development where individuals undergo significant physical, emotional and psychological changes.

The awareness of mental health issues among teenagers is crucial for several reasons, mainly that awareness is a form of education, and people can manage the symptoms and get proper treatment when they have a basic knowledge on mental health.

In line with creating mental health awareness, Sinar Daily in collaboration with Universiti Malaya Specialist Centre (UMSC) hosted a 'Confession Session' during Karnival Pendidikan Sinar Bestari.

The programme was well received from visitors however, the free confession session also had many rejections during the three day carnival.

Universiti Malaya Specialist Centre Psychiatrist Dr Fatin Liyana Azhar who conducted the afternoon session said the rejections are due to hesitations or unreadiness for the confession session.

"Most of the people are rejecting mental health confession sessions like this because they are not ready on how these sort of sessions works or maybe the stigma.

"Some students who came for the confession session do not understand or know what mental health is, so the lack of knowledge makes them not ready," she told Sinar Daily.

When asked on how can we educate the students on the mental health awareness, Liyana said it should be starte with the parents and teachers.

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"We cannot just engage directly with students but parents, teachers and counsellors also need to play an active role," she added.

Liyana further said that the society needs to be wise and educated on the types of mental health before helping the students who are in need.

"People need to know what is mental health, the knowledge and types of mental health (depression, anxiety) before looking out for to help children who are in need.

"The symptoms usually manifest differently in children and adolences.

"Children with anxiety and depression, sometimes manifest their depression into symptoms like not wanting to go to school and deteriortion in academic performance," she reasoned.

Commenting on the number of mental health disorders, Liyana said it gradually increased after the Covid-19 pandemic.

When asked on the way to reduce the numbers, she strongly suggested that consulting parents could make a difference.

"The ways to reduce this numbers need to come for many different aspects like parents, teachers and community.

"When we treat the children or patients, we do have to see the parents because their (children) mental health's well-being depends on their parents mental health well-being," she said.

Liyana said by promoting mental health awareness, it creates an environment where teens feel more comfortable discussing their issues openly and seeking help without fear or judgement.

Furthermore, fostering mental health awareness among teenagers helps prevent the escalation of problems.