“Making mental health services more accessible”

PETALING JAYA: A tragic murder-suicide involving three Myanmar nationals, a father and his two children, in Kepong on Tuesday has shocked the nation. It’s hard to imagine the kind of pain and anguish he must have felt to decide that death was the only option.

Lilianne Fan, co-founder of vulnerable community protection organization Geutanyoe Foundation, said that as the nation mourns the needless loss of life, a study must be conducted on how to prevent such tragedies from happening again in the future.

“The public should realize that mental health issues have been on the rise in Malaysia for some time.

“According to government statistics, mental health problems in the country have tripled over the past two decades.

“Additionally, the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns have caused an increase in mental health issues, including stress, fear, anxiety, depression and domestic violence.

“We also saw an increase in suicides and suicide attempts,” she said. the sun.

“Although mental health issues are increasingly recognised, our Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) services are still not sufficient to meet the growing needs in the country. »

Social stigma around mental health also contributes to the problem.

“MSHPS services need to be strengthened urgently in Malaysia for the entire population, and in this process, special measures need to be put in place to ensure that marginalized groups, including refugees and asylum seekers , also have adequate access”.

Fan said that means considering language and cultural barriers to accessing mental health services. Like all communities, refugees also need to be supported to identify and manage mental health issues and know where to seek help.

She said granting refugees legal documents and the right to work is equally important and would go a long way in alleviating the daily stress the community faces.

Meanwhile, the Founder and Chairman of the Myanmar Muslim Refugee Community, Thuzar Maung @Rashidah, said Malaysians have a big heart for refugees and are doing a lot to support the community in the country.

“There are people from higher social groups and educated people who look after the welfare of refugees and migrants. If refugees could have access to medical treatment at low cost, it would have a positive impact on their lives because they are vulnerable,” she said.

Rashidah added that the medical expenses are very high for a refugee and most of them cannot make an effort to get medical treatment for their mental health.

“I call on Malaysians who have access to health facilities to help support the mental health of refugees and migrants,” she said.

Meanwhile, checks by the sun revealed that the father in the murder-suicide case suffered from depression due to the uncertainty of his survival in Malaysia as a refugee and the deteriorating security situation in Myanmar.

Before the pandemic, the father worked as a wiring technician.

However, he lost his job during the pandemic.

The family is from Chin state, which is facing escalating conflict and increased displacement following last year’s military coup.

the sun also learned that the children’s mother was also in Kuala Lumpur.

She has been the breadwinner since her husband can no longer work.

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