The latest National Health and Morbidity Study shows an increase in the number of mental ailment sufferers in Malaysia, especially among children and teenagers.
The study, conducted in 2006 and released this year, shows mental ailments among adults at 11.2% and 20.3% in children and teenagers, said Deputy Health Minister Datuk Dr Abdul Latiff Ahmad.
In 1996, the figures were 10.7% and 13% respectively, he added.
Dr Abdul Latiff added that the desire to commit suicide among those aged between 16 and 24 was 11% and that 47.7% of adults suffered from insomnia.
He said that suicidal tendencies and insomnia were related to stress.
Dr Abdul Latiff, who revealed the study’s findings when opening the state-level Health Carnival, said it was important to overcome stress at all levels including in schools, work places, public institutions and government offices.
He said the ministry had organised an anti-stress campaign since 2000 linking a healthy lifestyle with good mental health.
In conjunction with the carnival, the ministry is also promoting a health and food safety campaign since food poisoning cases have increased from 149 episodes in 2006 to 412 last year.
For the first quarter of this year alone there were 174 episodes reported and 70% of the cases happened at school canteens.
In Kelantan, there were 29 episodes of food poisoning in 2006 and 35 last year.
Dr Abdul Latiff said that as poor hygiene and cross food contamination were the main reasons for food poisoning, the ministry wanted canteen food operators and handlers to attend food safety seminars held in their districts.
Monday August 4, 2008 The Star