Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Growing interest in mental health services, stress-relieving products, study finds

Scented candles, adult colouring books and therapy lamps have all seen a surge in Google searches.

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Interest has been on the rise for mental health services and stress-relieving products amid the ongoing Covid-19 crisis and concerns over the suicide rate, a recent study by e-commerce aggregator iPrice Group shows.

It noted a 109% surge of Google searches on mental health services in the first five months of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019, saying people appeared keen on getting professional mental healthcare treatment such as therapy sessions with psychologists or psychiatrists.

It recorded similar jumps in searches for products believed to reduce stress and anxiety as well as apps that promote and aid mental healthcare.

It said searches for scented candles, for example, increased by a whopping 137% in the first five months of 2020 compared to the same period the year before.

Searches also rose for items such as back and neck massagers (175%), weighted blankets (99%) and adult colouring books (95%).

Searches for therapy lamps increased by 57%, herbal tea by 41% and essential oils by 38%.

It also gauged Malaysians’ interest in mental health apps based on a list compiled by health and wellness information site Verywell Mind in 2021.

It said Malaysia saw a 108% increase in interest in such apps, adding that a “mental health pandemic” was likely succeeding the Covid-19 pandemic.

The search volume for each product and mental healthcare app was taken from Google Keyword Planner from July 14 to 16 this year, while search volumes were collected and compared from January to May of 2019 to 2021.

Concerns have been raised over mental health issues as the pandemic and safety measures continue to obstruct any return to normal daily routines.

According to statistics recently revealed by the police, 609 suicide cases were recorded in 2019, 631 in 2020 and 468 from January to May this year – an average of two suicides a day from 2019 to May 2021.

In terms of gender, 281 men and 1,427 women were recorded as having killed themselves from 2019 to May 2021.

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