Depression to be major mental health issue by 2020, says Lam Thye

Malaysian Psychiatric Association patron Lee Lam Thye says most people find it hard to deal with problems at work and cannot handle the stress. (Bernama pix)

KUALA LUMPUR: Depression will be a major mental health illness by 2020 as more people are expected to experience increased stress due to work and family pressure, the Malaysian Psychiatric Association (MPA) said.

Its patron Lee Lam Thye said according to the 2017 National Health and Morbidity Survey, 29% of Malaysians suffered from depression and anxiety disorders compared to 12% in 2011.

“Most people find it hard to deal with the problems they face at work and cannot handle the stress, and it is harder when an individual faces problems from family members and do not receive emotional support.

“There are higher chances of people keeping their thoughts and emotions to themselves when they do not find a way to vent out their frustrations,” he said in a statement today.

Lee said the survey done by experts on the prevalence of depression among Malaysians showed a 50% increase in the number of depressed patients from 2011 to 2015.

Society, therefore, needs to address the illness and develop preventive strategies and effective programmes in managing mental wellbeing.

Some of the measures to prevent depression and anxiety are to exercise consistently, sleep at least eight hours a day and avoid social media such as WhatsApp, at least 45 minutes before going to bed, Lee said.

However, he added that according to the Psychiatric Department of Universiti Malaya Medical Centre, depression and anxiety were treatable if detected early.