Last year, the Deputy Health Minister, Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahya had stated that one per cent of our population suffer from mental problems, with another 20 per cent having mental health problems like depression, stress and anxiety.
Since then, we have been observing that mental health problems among school students are a matter of serious concern and need to be addressed. Beginning of this year, a Form One student from Bandar Rinching took his own life by drinking pesticide at his home, after he was bullied by his peers. Last month, a video depicting a schoolgirl being brutally beaten by a group of schoolmates went viral. There are several such viral videos being posted on Youtube depicting a horrific scenario among our school students.
School bullying is an increasing phenomenon. It is defined as “repeated”, negative or mild mental disorder behaviours by one or more students directed against a student who has difficulty defending himself.
Thus, violence affects student’s physical and mental health, impairs their ability to learn and socialise, and undermines their development as functional adults and good parents later in life. In some cases, violence against students can lead to death.
Based on our survey, we found out that mental disorders among students are prevalent and these numbers appears to be increasing in numbers and severity. Mental disorder among students includes autism, conduct disorder, depressive disorder, attention deficit disorder, school refusal and schizophrenia.
Therefore, the Perak Society For The Promotion Of Mental Health suggests that the Health Ministry and the Education Ministry conduct mental health checks on students nationwide on a regular basis.
S. Sundralingam Vice-President Perak Society For The Promotion Of Mental Health