For the record, Malaysia was once ranked the 35th happiest country in the world in 2018. However, everything changed after the COVID-19 outbreak.
Loss of family members, communities living in isolation, bankrupt businesses, and job loss are some of the many problems that have led to massive mental harm for Malaysians.
So, it’s no wonder why we fell to 70th position in 2022; with the latest 2023 report recording an improvement with a 55th ranking for Malaysia.
As we observe Mental Health Awareness Month this May, this is a good time for all of us to take a step back and have a good look at our mental health as well.
What worries Malaysians the most
When asked what worries Malaysians the most, an IPSOS study on what is worrying Malaysians revealed that up to 53 percent of respondents said that their finances were their chief concern. Up to 34 percent also said that they were worried about losing their jobs as well.
With rising inflation making the cost of living more expensive and compounding to our worries, it’s no surprise that over 38% of Malaysians report their mental health to be average or below based on a mental health and wellness survey conducted by Rakuten Insight.
What is worrying when those struggling with mental health issues resort to more extreme actions that cause harm to themselves. According to a study by the Malaysian Ministry of Health (KKM) in 2020, a total of 1,080 suicide attempts were reported, and of that number, 266 individuals were unfortunately able to take their own lives. The main reason was due to the burden of debt and family problems that affected their mental health.
Ways to take care of your mental health
We all know how to go to the doctor if we are feeling physically ill, but do you do the same for your mental health? If you are often in a state of prolonged depression or sadness, you should get professional medical help as well.
In the meantime, here are three simple tips to help manage your mental health:
Take a moment for yourself
If you feel tired and are unable to concentrate at work, inform your workplace supervisor of your concerns. Make some time for yourself to take a break and rest for half an hour or so. Health, both physical and mental, is an important asset in guaranteeing the happiness of everyone’s life.
Engage in activities that make you more positive. Practice the concept of self-care or ‘self-care’. Self-care is any act that improves the peace and health of one’s own mind. Although each individual has his own way of getting rid of stress, what is important is that the way does not cause harm to any party.
Build healthy relationships
Even if your closest family members, life partner or friends are not good at giving advice, they still know you and the troubles you are going through. They also have their own problems to deal with. So, find the appropriate time to share your story with people you are comfortable with.
If you are comfortable talking to strangers or you want something new, you can get online therapy sessions instead. Most online mental health therapy services offer email conversations.
For example, if you complete The Help Talk survey, you will continue to receive emails from your therapist. You don’t have to follow any appointments or schedules and every conversation is professional and personal. This is intended to cater to individuals who do not like to communicate via phone calls.
Here are some affordable online mental health therapy services for you:
|RM230 (First session)*
|+6017 – 277 6605 (WhatsApp)
+603 – 9765 1163
|RM200-350 (Every session)*
|+6018 900 3247 (WhatsApp)
|RM250 (Every session)*
|+6018 779 8677 (WhatsApp)
Psycle Consultancy (Facebook)
|RM150 (Every session)*
|People Psychology Solutions
|RM280 (Every session)*
|+6017 899 2207 (WhatsApp)
People Psychological Solutions (Facebook)
*Do note that these prices are for professional consultants. Sessions with intern/trainee counselors are generally available at much lower prices as well.
Seek help from a financial expert
If you are often stressed out due to financial problems, you might end up being more exposed to various other mental health issues such as prolonged depression.
The depression and anxiety you experience can further weaken your financial management ability. This in turn may lead to other financial problems as you struggle to cope with both financial issues and mental stress. Indirectly, these problems will increase the risk of developing a variety of other mental health problems – and the cycle will continue if left alone.
In Malaysia, there are many agencies established to protect or help users like you. Here are three agencies or bodies that protect consumers financially:
- Ombudsman for Financial Service
- Individual: For personal, domestic and household purposes.
- Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs): Any financial problems regarding small businesses.
- For a full list of OFS services, please refer here.
- Securities Industry Dispute Resolution Center (SIDREC)
- Resolving monetary disputes between investors and market intermediaries such as broken stocks, unit trust management companies and fund managers.
- Provide dispute resolution channels regarding market service claims and products.
- For a full list of SIDREC services, please refer here.
- Agensi Kaunseling Dan Pengurusan Kredit (AKPK)
- Credit Management Program (PPK) for Malaysians.
- Micro Enterprise Help Desk.
- Small Loan Settlement Scheme (SDRS).
Mental health is perhaps one aspect of life that is often taken for granted. So, it is not necessarily wrong if we are a little bit selfish to take care of ourselves for the sake of a more balanced life. What is important here is that you prioritise the best things in your life without just focusing on the worst.