Selangor Journal
State executive councillor for public health Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud answering questions during the Selangor State Legislative Assembly sitting at the State Secretariat Building in Shah Alam, on March 14, 2023. — Picture by REMY ARIFIN/SELANGORKINI

Over 87,800 people sought help through Selangor mental health programme

By Ida Nadirah Ibrahim

SHAH ALAM, March 14 — A total of 87,877 people have accessed the Selangor Mental Health Programme (Sehat) to seek mental health assistance since it was launched in August 2021.

State executive councillor for public health Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud said that out of the figure, recorded as of February 28, most of the participants were from the youth and women groups.

She said that based on the data obtained from the screenings offered for the programme via the SELangkah app, more than half of the participants who were screened were found to be at risk of self-harm.

“Two types of screening are available via the app, which are the risk screening test and mental health screening test.

“The risk screening test is used to screen the risk of the users of self-harm. The results showed that 42 per cent of the users had not shown any risks while 58 per cent showed risks of self-harm.

“Those who are at risk would be channelled to the Sehat hotline and the Sehat psychiatric subsidy programme,” said Dr Siti Mariah in answering a question by Kampung Tunku state representative Lim Yi Wei on the number of users of Sehat during the Selangor State Legislative Assembly sitting, here today.

As for the mental health screening, the Seri Serdang state assemblyman said the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS-10) and the depression, anxiety and stress scale -21 (DASS-21) test are accessible for the app users.

“The data we received from SELangkah showed that 22 per cent of those who took the PSS-10 have normal stress levels, 65 per cent moderate and 13 per cent experiencing high level of stress.

“As for DASS-21, 51 per cent of the users experience high level of stress, 35 per cent are severely depressed and 57 per cent have severe level of anxiety,” she said.

Dr Siti Mariah said that the mental health initiative was first introduced in 2019 to assist people dealing with such issues through advocacy and awareness programmes as well as training for counsellors and frontline staff.

She said that the programme was then improved to include the dedicated mental health programme through the SELangkah app, which includes mental health screening tests, early intervention through mental health educational videos and a psychosocial hotline for people to get in touch with certified counsellors.

Dr Siti Mariah said that in 2022, the initiative has expanded to include subsidies for psychiatric and clinical psychology treatment.

People suffering from mental disorders including stress-related disorders or depression are urged to contact professional counsellors at the Sehat hotline that was set up earlier in June last year.

Individuals who want to share their problems can contact the hotline at 1700-82-7536 or 1700-82-7537, which is open 24 hours daily and operated by experienced counsellors.

On August 30, 2021, the state administration launched the Sehat initiative with a total allocation of RM500,000 to tackle the worrying problem of mental illness caused by Covid-19.

The Sehat feature on the SELangkah app allows users to have access to the mental health screening test, risk screening, psychoeducation videos, the WhatsDoc portal and the mental health literacy scale.

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