KUALA LUMPUR: Over 100,000 Year Five and Six students are at risk of suffering sadness, depression and a lack of interest, says the Education Ministry.

“A total of 818,430 Year Five and Year Six primary school students participated in a screening between June and August,” it said.

“Based on the screening, it was found that 87.45% were not categorised as being at risk of showing signs of prolonged feelings of sadness, depression and lack of interest in performing additional work.

“Whereas 12.55% of them were catergorised as being at risk of (the above),” the ministry added in a written reply to Datuk Dr Hasan Bahrom (PH-Tampin) in the Dewan Rakyat on Monday (Nov 22).

It said the screening was part of its joint effort with the Health Ministry to keep tabs on the psychological well-being of students.

“The Healthy Mind In School Under the New Normal programme aims to implement intervention measures while managing student emotions during the post Covid-19 pandemic period.

“The mental health screening was done to allow for early detection and identification of students who have emotional issues,” the ministry added.

Among several measures that will be taken to help at-risk students are counselling and instruction in relaxation and mindfulness techniques to help them cope.

This also includes consultation with parents to improve their ability to cope with their children.

The Ministry said 1,737,755 Remove to Form Six students in the country were also screened and it was found that anxiousness and depression were among the main issues.

It also said intervention is required for students showing early signs of anxiousness and depression, based on modules prepared by the education and health ministries.

It also said these measures are aimed at guiding the affected students to better manage their emotions and stress.

For students suffering signs of emotional instability and serious depression, school authorities will discuss the possibility of seeking expert mental health care with their parents, it added.

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