Almost a quarter, or 24 per cent of Malaysians have had suicidal thoughts at some point, a recent survey has shown.
Released on Tuesday (June 18), market research firm YouGov’s study of 1,027 Malaysians also revealed that only 18 per cent of respondents “rarely” had suicidal thoughts, while 5 per cent of respondents had suicidal thoughts “frequently”.
According to YouGov, younger respondents tend to experience suicidal thoughts more frequently than older respondents.
The report revealed that 32 per cent of the 265 respondents aged 18 to 24 have had suicidal thoughts, while only 9 per cent of the 56 respondents aged 55 and above said they had suicidal thoughts.
Worryingly, about 26 per cent of respondents said they had carried out acts of self-harm before. YouGov noted that self-harm is also more prevalent among Malaysians aged 18 to 24, with almost a third (32 per cent) having self-harmed before.
“Among younger Malaysians (aged 18 to 24), data shows that almost one in ten (9 per cent) self-harm frequently,” YouGov said.
High earners more likely to have mental health issues
The survey also revealed that one in 10 respondents have experienced some form of mental health issues in their lifetime.
Respondents aged 18 to 24 are also five times more likely to state that they have had mental health issues compared to Malaysians aged 55 and above, the report said.
In addition, 13 per cent of higher earners – those earning RM7,000 a month and more – reported having mental health issues, while only 6 per cent of lower earners – those earning RM3,000 a month and less – had experienced mental health issues before.
Many unsure where to get professional help
The most commonly experienced mental health issues were found to be depression (73 per cent) and anxiety (53 per cent). However, only 43 per cent of respondents suffering from mental health issues said they went on to seek professional help.
When the respondents who said they did not seek professional help were asked to give reasons for their decision, 56 per cent of them said they were unsure where to get professional help
This was followed by concerns with the cost of treatment, which 50 per cent of respondents said was a reason they did not seek professional help.
“Other reasons include embarrassment or social stigma (38 per cent) and concerns about time commitment (25 per cent),” YouGov said.
According to YouGov, a large majority (93 per cent) of respondents felt that mental health should be taken as seriously as physical health.
Additionally, 85 per cent of respondents agreed that mental health should be covered by insurance, and 92 per cent felt that employees should be entitled to medical leave for mental health issues.
If you or someone you know needs a listening ear, you can call Befrienders Malaysia for free and confidential emotional support at 603-79568145.