- Advertisement -

Mental health concerns continue despite shift towards endemic phase

The rising cost of living and political 'games' have been identified as some of the main factors.

Azzman Abdul Jamal
2 minute read
A worker places signs showing the new price of eggs on stacks of cardboard crates at a dry goods shop at the Jalan Chow Kit market in Kuala Lumpur.
A worker places signs showing the new price of eggs on stacks of cardboard crates at a dry goods shop at the Jalan Chow Kit market in Kuala Lumpur.

The pressures on mental health which marked much of the pandemic period appear to live on despite the country's transition towards the endemic phase of Covid-19, with issues such as political squabbles and the rising cost of living singled out as some of the main factors. 

Several psychologists and counsellors who spoke to MalaysiaNow said the people were still struggling to recover from the pandemic, when the country had faced a direct threat from Covid-19. 

One of them, Hushim Salleh, said he had noticed an increase in the number of people coming to him for counselling – even more than had come during the pandemic itself. 

His clients come from all manner of backgrounds but their troubles are mostly the same: job loss and the inability to earn a living. 

"This in turn leads to other problems such as family fights and divorce," he said. 

"Some have spoken of a desire to commit suicide. Others are teenagers who refuse to continue their studies because they want to find work and help their parents." 

The rising cost of living and conflict among the country's leaders only make things worse, he added. 

And the people are also upset over reports of raises in salary or allowance for ministers and the directors of GLCs. 

In Sabah, for instance, the state legislative assembly approved on July 19 a motion to raise the salaries of the chief minister, assembly members and other members of the state administration. 

The chief minister's salary increased from RM23,595 to RM33,033 while the deputy chief minister's salary was raised from RM20,872.50 to RM29,221.50.

The annual fees of the FGV Holdings board of directors were also reportedly increased when the company's shareholders approved 13 resolutions at the annual general meeting in June. 

The allowance of the non-executive chairman increased from RM300,000 to RM480,000 while remuneration for the non-executive director rose from RM120,000 to RM150,000.

"Many, especially from the working class, feel that they are already under emotional pressure," said Hushim, who has 30 years of experience in counselling. 

"When they hear of things like this, of course they get angry."  

Psychology expert Awang Idris meanwhile said that reports of salary bumps and political squabbles might not have a direct effect on the people's mental health. However, he said it was bad news nonetheless as many were still trying to regain their footing.

"The issue is not why the ministers get a raise, but why they don't," Awang, of Universiti Malaya, told MalaysiaNow. 

"Sometimes, the anger that we witness is also because of political sentiments. And of course, there will be those who use these issues as political weapons." 

On the people's mental health in general, Awang said it appeared to be better than it had been during the pandemic. 

"The people can now do as they please," he added. 

However, he said the government should work to address issues such as the rising cost of goods and increase job opportunities for the people. 

"And the people shouldn't be trapped in political games," he said. "They should communicate to the politicians and tell them to take a break from playing up sentiments."  

- Advertisement -

Most Read

No articles found.