SHAH ALAM, Sept 4 — The Selangor government has dedicated RM1 million of its annual allocation for mental health programmes, state executive councillor Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud said today.
Dr Siti, who is in charge of the health, welfare, women and family empowerment committee, revealed that a major chunk of the fund will go towards counselling sessions.
“Counselling is the way to go as various studies showed that it can help alleviate stress.
“The challenge now is to identify individuals or groups with anxiety or depression because they rarely show external ‘symptoms’.
“Such cases can only be detected through counselling. We have hired an experienced counsellor to help us identify the target group,” she said in response to a question from Subang Jaya assemblyman Michelle Ng at the 14th state legislative assembly sitting here.
The Seri Serdang rep added that the government is also considering expanding the services to the virtual platform to provide better accessibility to those in need.
“So far we have a few counselling centres in Ampang Jaya, Shah Alam, Selayang and Sepang.
“If we have other platforms to provide our assistance, we are sure more would utilise it as they will no longer feel embarrassed or ashamed,” she said.
Meanwhile, Ng, while debating the royal address in the state legislative assembly, also revealed that there have been four suicide cases in her constituency within less than four months.
“I believe the actual figure is higher than this but the cases probably were never reported.
“The frequency of the cases, to me, showed that there is a deeper problem that we are not addressing and it could be mental health,” she said.