One in seven teens face mental health challenges globally - Doctor

Neglecting teen mental health limits future potential

24 Mar 2024 09:02am
Photo for illustration purpose only. - FILE PIX
Photo for illustration purpose only. - FILE PIX

KUALA LUMPUR - A medical professional from Putrajaya expressed concern over the escalating mental health challenges faced by adolescents worldwide, highlighting suicide as the fourth leading cause of death in this demographic.

Dr Saraswathy Tangamani of the Presint 9, Putrajaya Health Clinic underscored the long-term consequences of neglecting adolescent mental health, highlighting its potential to negatively impact both physical and mental well-being in adulthood, thus limiting opportunities for a fulfilling life.

"Globally, one in seven adolescents experiences a mental disorder, constituting 13 per cent of the global burden of disease in this age group. Depression, anxiety, and behavioural disorders are among the leading causes of illness and disability," she told Bernama in a statement.

Recognising the gravity of this concerning trend, she initiated a project on March 15, in collaboration with Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Telok Panglima Garang, Kuala Langat, Selangor.

The project aimed to foster awareness among students about the importance of mental health and to offer screenings, referrals, and appropriate management for adolescents facing mental health challenges.

She emphasised the significance of the project titled "Youth Empower: Building Stronger Minds," which involved 80 Form 6 students from the school, with the objective to empower them to make informed decisions and cultivate healthy habits.

The programme was held from 7.30 am to 12 pm, and was also attended by Dr Saritha Ramachandran from the Telok Panglima Garang Health Clinic and Dr Kausalya Naidu from the Dato Keramat Health Clinic.

The event commenced with an insightful presentation by a psychiatrist and included six interactive booths showcasing displays and demonstrations by clinical counselors, nutritionists, and occupational therapists.

Related Articles:

Now in its fourth year, the project represents a partnership between trainees from the Malaysia-Ireland Training Programme for Family Medicine (MInTFM) and the Telok Panglima Garang Health Clinic.

It receives support from various non-governmental organisations committed to advocating for mental health and promoting wellness initiatives.

Participants also had access to National Health Screening Initiative services to assess their overall health and well-being. - BERNAMA