Monday, March 7, 2016

Mental Health Care

A March 05, 2016 BBC News report by Judith Burns should ring alarm bells in Malaysia too.
British head teachers are saying that more young people are suffering from mental health issues but that the care on offer outside schools is not keeping pace. In total, 55 percent of 338 school leaders surveyed by the Association of School and College Leaders reported a large rise in pupils with anxiety and stress. And almost 65 percent said they struggled to get mental health services for pupils.
The poll, launched at the Association of School and College Leaders' annual conference in Birmingham, found that over the past five years:

(1) 79% of school heads saw an increase in self harm or suicidal thoughts among students; (2) 40% reported a big rise in cyber-bullying; (3) 53% of those who had referred a pupil to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services rated them poor or very poor; and (4) Overall, 80% of respondents wanted to see CAMHS expanded in their area.

According to the report, carried out by ASCL alongside the National Children's Bureau, most schools offer on-site support to students – e.g. counselling and educational psychology sessions. The problems arise when students needs extra support. There is, therefore, "a serious gap in mental health provision beyond the school gates".
That is the UK situation. Here, in Malaysia, we don't have to venture that far. Within our schools and campuses, mental health support is inadequate, if not non-existent. And where there is, it is not pro-active.
We also need to remember that teachers/lecturers are not mental health professionals and they must have the support of specialist services.
A key Jin Kuan Kok-Lee Ying Goh finding from their research paper “Young People and Suicide Issue” at the IEDRC-organized International Conference on Humanities, Society and Culture (November 04-06, 2011) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – and subsequently published in the International Proceedings of Economics Development and Research (IPEDR) Vol. 20 (2011) – showed that youngsters mostly sought help from their friends – further confirming that the authorities need to do a lot more than what they are presently doing.
We know only too well that young people in our schools and colleges and universities today face an extraordinary range of pressures. They live in a world of enormously high expectations. So, educational institutions have an essential role to play in tackling mental health issues.
Of course, we need to look beyond the gates too – that is equally important.


Liverpool edged Crystal Palace 2-1 in an EPL match yesterday.
The latter had taken the upper hand with Joe Ledley's 48th-minute goal. And then a costly slip by their keeper Alex McCarthy gifted Liverpool their equalizer – scored by Roberto Firmino in the seventy-second minute. By then Liverpool were down to ten men and when Christian Benteke was fouled, he stepped up to coolly net the winner with a last-gasp penalty.

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