KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 10 (Bernama) – The government needs to urgently address mental illness issues and beef up programmes on mental health development in the country.
Mental Health Promotion Advisory Council member Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said the latest incident where two young children were killed by their neighbour in Yan, Kedah, yesterday should serve as a wake-up call to all parties on the seriousness of the issue.
"Like a time bomb, those who are suffering from mental health problems may explode at any time, affecting their family and community, apart from the company and government department where they are working.
"More efforts should be made to promote good mental health development at the community level as the public plays a role in tackling the various problems which are now on the rise due to various factors," he said in a statement here, today.
He said although some people would seek alternative treatment to cure their mental illness, it is advisable for them to be referred to a psychologist for mental health assessment.
"Prevention in the early stages can certainty reduce the likelihood of people with mental problems turning violent or doing extreme things including murder and committing suicide," he said.
Some mental disorders and illnesses, he said, were caused by drug abuse, and this must be tackled as drug addiction was increasing each year.
"Mental health development is very critical and the entire community must pay heed to address mental health problems. We ignore this problem at our own peril.
"All parties should strive to stop the stigmatisation of mentally-ill persons who are often regarded as 'orang gila' or crazy people. Instead of insulting them, community members should help those with mental disorder get counselling services or psychiatric treatment," he said.
In the latest incident, it was reported that the suspect allegedly killed the victims after a quarrel with their father.
In the 9.30-pm tragedy, Muhammad Hafis,14 months, was slit in the throat and his four-year-old sister, Nurul Hanim Idris, was slashed all over her body.
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