MoH, Unicef Study Finds Concerning Number Of PPR Youths Having Suicidal Thoughts
A total of 13.4% of teenagers and children living in PPR in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor, have thoughts of suicide or hurting themselves due to the pressures of life.
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There are vast inequalities in social infrastructure that need reform.
These concerns largely focus on the state of the mental health in young Malaysians at the People’s Housing Projects (PPR), who are bridled with economic anxiety and the lack of suitable infrastructures while journeying through childhood in physically challenging environments.
A recent study by the Institute for Health Behavioural Research and the Ministry of Health (MoH) in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has found that a total of 13.4% of teenagers and children living in PPR in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor, have thoughts of suicide or hurting themselves due to the pressures of life.
This was a mixed-methods study which targeted participants aged 10 to 17 living in selected PPRs in the Klang Valley.
From the 37 PPRs, a total of 1,578 adolescents completed the questionnaire and 47 participated in the in-depth interviews (IDIs)
The study conducted by the Institute For Health Behavioural Research and the Health Ministry (MOH) in collaboration with UNICEF also found 12.3% of this group have mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.
As reported by Bernama, Deputy Health Minister Lukanisman Awang Sauni said the factors contributing to mental health problems among children and teenagers include economic pressure, cramped living conditions and peer pressure.
The study also found several maladaptive coping strategies such as avoidance, self-harm, vaping and smoking.
Lastly, with regards to help-seeking behaviour, it was recorded that the respondents sought help from formal sources and informal sources.
Several hindrances for help-seeking were identified, including lack of trust, perceived ineffectiveness of support and personality of the individual.
Following the release of the study, The Star reported that the Deputy Local Government Development Minister will make an effort to meet these communities to see what can be done to improve the situation.
I want to learn and understand the issues they face instead of relying solely on media reports.Deputy Local Government Development Minister Akmal Nasrullah Mohd Nasir
He also noted that the ministry will attempt to increase the size of people’s housing project (PPR) homes to at least 750sq ft (about 70sq m) this year with revamps to facilities and designs of said homes to ensure they are more comfortable for living.
There is also a need for programmes to empower these communities. This is not just a matter of the children’s future but safety as a whole.Deputy Local Government Development Minister Akmal Nasrullah Mohd Nasir
Some netizens also shared their thoughts on this study with a few speaking about their experience living in PPRs.
Twitter user @papaqotenlaaaaa said:
PPRs are essentially a slum. I know because I came from there. From Pekeliling Flat where you can see drug addicts overdosed while you were just in kindergarten, or mentally-ill adult sons beating their mothers or trying to throw her down the balcony.@papaqotenlaaaaa via Twitter
He also shared a story about a woman who committed suicide once in the PPR he lived in.
It was not an environment for kids to grow up in. And that was in the 90s when KL was still relatively safe for kids and teenagers to roam around. Now?.@papaqotenlaaaaa via Twitter
Another Twitter user @reviewstuffs said:
Heartbroken. Many PPRs are very small and cramped, and many families living there are struggling. I’ve seen places where there are only 2 rooms side by side, so there is no privacy at all. If there are daughters and sons, usually the sons don’t even get a room. It’s stressful.@reviewstuffs via Twitter
Twitter user @Boeing747S8 too shared their experience tweeting:
Our PPRs are no places for children to grow up. Even for adults it can be extremely stressful. I lived there for a number of years – never again!@Boeing747S8 via Twitter
If you’ve lived in a PPR flat, what are some experiences that you have gone through and how have they shaped you as a person today?
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