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Malaysian archdiocese focuses on mental health during Lent

In 2020, mental health issues became the second most common health problem in Malaysia after heart disease

UCA News reporter, Kuala Lumpur

UCA News reporter, Kuala Lumpur

Published: March 15, 2021 05:00 PM GMT

Updated: March 16, 2021 05:22 AM GMT

Malaysian archdiocese focuses on mental health during Lent

The Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur is focusing on the mental well-being of the faithful as part of a program during the Church’s holy season of Lent. (Photo: Kuala Lumpur Archdiocese Facebook page)

Amid a rising rate of mental illness due to the socioeconomic downturn caused by the Covid-19 pandemic in Malaysia, the Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur has emphasized the mental well-being of the faithful as part of a program during the Church’s holy season of Lent.

In 2020, mental health issues became the second most common health problem in Malaysia after heart disease, according to the latest National Health and Morbidity Survey. Three out of every 10 adults above the age of 16 suffer from various kinds of mental illness, it found. The pandemic worsened the scenario.

In November last year, the Health Ministry disclosed that some 37,009 calls were made to helplines for mental health services and psychosocial support at national and state levels with people desperately seeking emotional and psychological support.  

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The Southeast Asian nation has one psychiatrist for every 100,000 people while the ideal ratio is one psychiatrist for every 10,000 people, according to data from University Malaya Specialist Center (UMSC).

UMSC associate professor Dr. Ng Chong Guan noted that mental illness has been rising alarmingly among younger Malaysians in recent years.

“This problem now has become more complex because it might relate to drugs, bullying and some other issues [involving youngsters] compared to previously when anxiety and stress were the main causes,” Ng said.

Against this backdrop, the mental health ministry of Kuala Lumpur Archdiocese has appealed to people to get in touch about mental illness.

“Mental health illnesses are on the rise in our society. Yet the importance of seeking early help is ignored,” reads a statement from Kuala Lumpur Diocese on March 14.

“The Bible teaches us Jesus is our healer, and nothing is impossible for God. So, whatever sickness or disease we are afflicted with, we as believers, can claim healing in Jesus’ name.

“Feel free to reach out to the Archdiocesan Mental Health Ministry if you need help. We are offering e-counseling and psychological consultation to those in need.”

Church officials have advised people to book an appointment through https://SeekCounsel.ArchKL.org.

Kuala Lumpur Archdiocese has a nine-member mental health ministry that has three focuses: spirituality in the formation of those providing mental health services, receptivity to support and promote counseling services and assisting persons in distress, and outreach in promoting positive mental health to all in the archdiocese.

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