With the alarming statistics on teen mental health, the public is keen to learn about the warning signs, and what can be done to help these youth.
Mr. Justin Victor, Senior Lecturer from Taylor's School of Media and Communication who is also a certified trainer for over 22 years with Befrienders Kuala Lumpur, a Suicide Prevention Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO), was invited to shed light on these issues by 3E, a training and empowerment company. This was part of their Virtual Interactive Platform (VIP) which offers free sessions to the public.
The talk entitled ‘Mental Health in Teens’ was in conjunction with the World Mental Health Day. The participants, who were adult teachers and parents were given an overview of the state of mental health among youth. Mr. Justin shared the following details from World Health Organization (WHO) (October, 2021):
Globally, one in seven 10 - 19 year old's experiences a mental disorder, accounting for 13% of the global burden of disease in this age group.
Depression, anxiety and behavioral disorders are among the leading causes of illness and disability among adolescents.
Suicide is the fourth leading cause of death among 15 - 29 year old's.
In Malaysia, the current statistics shows that there are about at least 5 deaths by suicide and about 100 suicide attempts each day. The concern is that many of these victims are teens. He stressed that it is important to address adolescent mental health because the conditions extend to adulthood, impairing both physical and mental health and limiting opportunities to lead fulfilling lives as adults.
The session included a look at the warning signs so that people can identify youth who are troubled and possibly suicidal. A good source suggested is https://www.take5tosavelives.org/ which has resources on learning the signs, knowing how to help, practicing self-care, reaching out and spreading the word to those in need that there is help for them.