Syed Saddiq wants ‘honest’ discussion on mental health after teen’s suicide

Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman says mental health problems kill people slowly and a vast majority of those committing suicide are also young.

BANGI: Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman wants to jump-start an honest national discussion on mental health, following the suicide of a Sarawakian teenager two days ago.

Sarawak police said the 16-year-old had created a poll on social media with the question, “Really Important, Help Me Choose D/L”, hours before committing suicide on May 13. D/L refers to death or life.

Calling the incident “truly depressing”, Syed Saddiq lamented the lack of “an honest national discussion” on mental health, saying he wanted to change that by beginning a dialogue.

“The fact is that there are many Malaysians who think it is a petty issue. They see mental health as something fake and made up. In reality, it kills people slowly but surely.

“This is a growing trend not just in Malaysia but in the world where many people are affected by serious mental health issues.

“There must be a national discussion around this. An honest one for us to work collectively to resolve it,” he told reporters after attending the National Youth Day celebration at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia this evening.

Syed Saddiq said reading about the case left him very disheartened, owing to the fact that young people were the ones predominantly affected by mental health.

“Six out of 10 are affected. At the same time, a vast majority of those who commit suicide are also young.

“It is a serious youth issue which must be addressed,” he said.

Syed Saddiq said he would host a dialogue this Friday at the International Islamic University of Malaysia, where some experts would speak on the issue.

“We will be doing it at a cafe. It is a more relaxed place. Not a hall-like environment.

“I want to get honest opinions. I want to listen and see what else we can do to address the problem once and for all,” he added.

The teen was reported to have jumped off a building after the poll, uploaded at 3pm on the same day, ended. A group of men found her body at around 8pm the same day.

Padawan district police chief Aidil Bolhassan said the girl had also uploaded a Facebook status post saying: “Wanna quit f**king life. I’m tired.”

She had also wished her friends well on her WeChat status.