A quarter of Malaysians have experienced suicidal thoughts

A quarter of Malaysians have experienced suicidal thoughts
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One in ten young adults frequently engage in self-harm

Latest YouGov research finds that a quarter (24%) of Malaysians have experienced suicidal thoughts.

While two in ten (18%) ‘rarely’ have suicidal thoughts, one in twenty (5%) Malaysians have them frequently. Younger Malaysians (aged 18 to 24) tend to experience this more than older Malaysians (aged 55 and above) (32% vs. 9%).

A quarter (26%) have engaged in self-harm. Again, this is more prevalent among younger Malaysians, with a third (32%) having self-harmed. Among younger Malaysians, data shows that almost one in ten (9%) self-harm frequently.

One in ten (10%) have experienced some form of mental health issues in their lifetime. Younger Malaysians are five times more likely to state that they have had mental health issues than older Malaysians (11% vs. 2%). Higher earners (earning RM7,000 a month and more) also appear more likely to have had mental health issues than lower earners (earning RM3,000 a month and less) (13% vs. 6%).

The most commonly experienced mental health issues are depression (73%) and anxiety (53%). However, only two in five (43%) of those with mental health issues go on to seek professional help for it. Men are more likely to seek help than women (50% vs. 40%), and high earners are more likely to seek help than low earners (47% vs. 35%).

The main barrier to getting professional help is being unsure where to get help (56%), followed by cost (50%). Other reasons include embarrassment or social stigma (38%) and concerns about time commitment (25%).

Overall, Malaysians tend to treat mental health seriously. A large majority (93%) think that mental health should be taken as seriously as physical health. Over four in five (85%) agree that mental health should be covered by insurance, and nine in ten (92%) think that employees ought to be entitled to medical leave for mental health issues.

Jake Gammon, Head of Omnibus APAC at YouGov Omnibus commented: “Many people with mental health issues suffer in silence, as seen by the significant amount of people who choose not to seek help. An alarming number of Malaysians experience damaging behaviour like suicidal thoughts and self-harm, particularly prevalent among young adults. We hope this survey sheds light on the topic of mental health, and how it affects people differently.”

***Results based on 1,027 Malaysians surveyed by YouGov Omnibus