KUCHING: The media have been urged to report accurate news on mental health concerns.
Minister of Youth and Sports, Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah made the call in his opening speech during the virtual Asean Youth Mental Health Conference in Southeast Asia’ conference yesterday (July 31).
In his speech, Abdul Karim, who is also Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, highlighted the mental health concerns particularly among youth.
The one-day conference, organised by the Sarawak Ministry of Youth and Sports and Scorpus Malaysia, aimed to address mental health challenges in society, especially among the youth as well as raise awareness of the significance of professional psychology to help eliminate the stigma that often surrounded mental health issues among youth.
Abdul Karim revealed that the 550 participants of the virtual conference session included youth from across Sarawak, as well as representatives from other Asean countries.
One of the invited panelists, Dr Eqachseryanti Zain, an Indonesian psychiatrist, said a community open to sharing perspectives in addressing mental health issues was vital.
“It is difficult to find a solution if people with mental health issues hide their illness and refuse to talk about their concerns,” she said.
In her presentation entitled ‘Mental Health Well-being for Youth’, Eqachseryanti stressed that people must be aware when something was wrong with them mentally.
The people in the community must also be kind to those undergoing difficult emotional situations.
A lecturer in the Counselling Programme at the Faculty of Cognitive Science and Development Malaysia at Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas), Dr Edris Aden, served as moderator for the event.
In addition to Eqachseryanti’s presentation, there were also presentations by four other invited panelists comprising local professional psychologists and representatives from Vietnam and the Philippines.