Breaking down the barriers.

It is not an easy issue to talk about but tertiary students are gradually breaking that mould by seeking help for mental health related issues.

MANY may believe that mental health is a taboo subject that no one wants to address.

However, it seems that tertiary students are gradually breaking that mould by seeking help for mental health related issues.

Universiti Malaya Specialist Centre psychiatrist Assoc Prof Dr Muhammad Muhsin Ahmad Zahari said he sees many individuals between their mid-20s to their 30s at his clinic, many of them being undergraduates.

He has seen a rise of individuals from this age group seeking help and believes the increasing numbers could be attributed to more sensitivity towards their emotions and surroundings.

Some common problems faced by students include sleep difficulties, challenges in coping with their studies, financial constraints, while those who choose to work part-time having to balance studies with other demands, as well as relationship problems.

“It is common to find relationship issues among those in their 20s as they are often at a stage where they may be moving out of the house to live on campus on their own, moving in with new housemates or starting romantic relationships,” said Dr Muhammad Muhsin.

“Posting one’s problems on social media is not the best way to deal with it. It merely shares the emotion without looking at a specific way of solving the problems.”

He notes that online comments towards such postings may not necessarily be positive, while sharing personal problems on social media reveals information to others who may use that to manipulate the distressed individual.

Dr Muhammad Muhsin feels that undergraduates are more susceptible to emotional problems compared to postgraduate students.

“The majority of them (undergraduates) are at a younger age and are transitioning from secondary school or a working environment to a (different) education environment,” he said.

How one copes with their problems is also important.

“The older you get, the more competent you are in tackling your problems,” he said, adding that students who are pursuing their postgraduate studies are usually more financially stable as they may have worked prior to enrolling their studies, while their experience as an undergraduate can help them during postgraduate studies.


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