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Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said the Sarawak Youth and Sports Ministry will organise an online South-East Asian Youth Mental Health Conference on July 31 from 8am to 4pm. — Picture by Sulok Tawie
Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said the Sarawak Youth and Sports Ministry will organise an online South-East Asian Youth Mental Health Conference on July 31 from 8am to 4pm. — Picture by Sulok Tawie

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KUCHING, July 28 — The Sarawak Youth and Sports Ministry will organise an online South-East Asian Youth Mental Health Conference involving 300 youths from the region on July 31 from 8am to 4pm.

Its minister, Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said the event, organised with the cooperation of Social Community Programs Urban Society (Scopurs) Malaysia and themed, “Breaking the Mental Health Issues, Stigma in Asean Amid the Pandemic”, would be conducted via a Zoom webinar.

“The programme involves participants aged 18 to 40 from Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei and Indonesia,” he said at a media conference to announce the event at his office here today.

Abdul Karim said he and Health Director-General Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah would officiate at the event, aimed at educating and increasing awareness of the importance of the services of professional psychologists, counsellors and psychiatrists for youths.

Registration for participation in the conference is open till this Friday and those interested can contact the ministry’s secretariat at 082-495 555.

The event also aims to help youths in Asean countries to overcome mental health problems and get rid of the stigma attached to mental health issues, especially among Sarawak youths.

Abdul Karim said that in Malaysia, the National Health and Morbidity Study found that suicidal behaviour among youths aged 13 to 17 showed an increase, with having suicidal thoughts being at 10 per cent in 2017 compared to 7.9 per cent in 2012.

He added that the same study found depression being around 18.3 per cent, meaning one out of five youths were having symptoms of depression, two out of five experiencing anxiety and one out of 10 suffering from stress.

“There were 468 suicide cases in Malaysia from January to May this year and an average of two reported cases daily since 2019 until 2021,” he said. — Bernama

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