Waving The White Flag On Mental Health 0 976

On Sunday, 27th June, the government announced that the lockdown would continue indefinitely until the cases drop below 4,000. Malaysians all over the country expressed their unhappiness with this decision due to the negative implications that the lockdown has had. One of the biggest challenges that this period has brought is a sharp decrease in mental health. 

A piece of hope that Malaysians have had during these trying times is a clear end date to the lockdown. Since that has been taken away by this new approach, individuals are having a harder time than ever coping. Depression, anxiety, OCD are just some of the mental health issues that have been growing during this time with cases of suicide sadly also on the rise. 

In 2021 alone, there have been 336 police reported suicide cases, more than half of the 631 that were reported in 2020. 59% of Malaysians suffer from depression and 55% suffer from anxiety, there has also been a two-fold increase in individuals seeking help for their mental health since 2019 with Befrienders reporting that 1 in 3 calls have been due to suicidal thoughts. 

Much of these mental health issues are brought about due to the difficulty of making ends meet. Families, especially within the B40 community, have been unable to provide basic necessities, some of them even going without proper food for days. 

One social media campaign has come about to bring some hope back to the people. The #WhiteFlagCampaign or #BenderaPutih is a movement for the people by the people that aims to provide families in need with the basic necessities to get through the lockdown. The hope is that by families asking for help with white flags that the people within their community will come together and give food, water or whatever else they need.

This comes about at a time where citizens feel abandoned and let down by the government. So many have not received sufficient aid to survive through the past year and a half and felt that it was time to take things into their own hands. This campaigns sought to fill the gaps in the community and perpetuates the notion of #KitaJagaKita. Malaysians taking care of each other. 

Below we have listed some resources to help those in need, including both NGOs that are providing basic necessities and mental health resources for those who want to reach out. It is important to remember that there is absolutely no shame in seeking support, it in fact shows immense strength. 

Mental Health Resources: 

Basic Necessities Aid:

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Moving Into An Endemic 0 854

Over the past week, new Health Minister Khairy has stated that by October Malaysia will be moving forward from a pandemic to an endemic. This comes after an arduous battle with Covid-19 over the past year and a half with almost 2 million cases and over 18,000 deaths.

What moving into an endemic essentially means is that we’ll all have to adjust to the virus being around, however, due to immunity from the vaccinations, it will no longer be deadly and thus the need for social isolation will no longer be as necessary. Hospitalizations, transmissions and death from the virus will significantly reduce and despite the potential of getting infected, Covid will be treated the same as most other cases of flu. 

A benchmark reference in turning a pandemic into an endemic is the 1918 influenza which took the lives of 50 million individuals. In recent times, Influenza A and most seasonal flu’s have descended from this initial virus, however, they have become much less deadly. Yearly they claim about 650,000 lives which are significant but not bad enough to affect our day to day the way it did when it first came it. 

It all boils down to a shift in immunity and a shift in perception – we’re not afraid of the common cold, we know that we won’t feel good for a few days and we’ll eventually recover. This is what Covid will likely evolve into, something that we are wary of but not fearful of our lives. Even in Malaysia right now, as of 8th September 97.8% of cases, 19.304, were individuals who had no symptoms or very mild symptoms. 

This shows that the vaccines are working and as long as we continue to vaccinate the country’s population in a timely manner, we’ll likely be reaching the end of the road soon and life as we once knew it will return. 

Critics of this decision believe that we are potentially opening up too soon, however, if the vaccination rates are high enough to justify this shift then there is nothing else we can really do. We cannot live in lockdowns forever and the economy cannot halt any longer. It seems like this is the time for a new chapter, hopefully, one that comes with greater health and safety for all whilst a sense of normalcy is returned. 

Do you think shifting into an endemic is the right decision?

So It’s Sabri, Now What? 0 618

Our bed’s been made, I guess we gotta find a way to lay in it 

Looks like our democracy has been disregarded for the time being and no amount of unrest from the citizens is going to make a difference. For most of us, this is our only home so it’s time to make the best of a bad situation and be clear about what we want from the people in power:

Parliament back in full session

If SOPs are in place and MPs are vaccinated, there is no reason for parliament not to reconvene. The voices of the people need to be heard and this is the only way we’ll be able to see that. 

Proper financial aid to the B40 community

Not just one-off handouts, but monthly financial aid to help those who have been struggling to put food on the table for the past year and a half. 

Restructuring of the Pandemic Recovery Plan 

Insanity is defined by doing the same thing and expecting different results – it’s time to rethink, relook and restructure our plan to get us out of this pandemic. It’s not about relying on the vaccines alone but holistically approaching the situation. 


Automatic registration of voters for those ages 18 and above for upcoming elections. 

Vaccinations for those in remote areas

Even though the vaccination rates have been tremendously high, it is clear that those living in the outskirts and the Orang Asli community have yet to receive their doses. 

Better support for our healthcare workers

Without our incredible healthcare workers, we would have seen many more fatalities in the country. They should be given full-time positions with the benefits that they deserve. 

Fair treatment of foreign workers

Foreign workers deserve to have safe working and living conditions that should be mandated under the law. 

Stopping the intimidation of activists 

Under a true democracy, activism, protests and the voices of the people must be heard. Activists should be allowed to speak on their views without fear of being investigated.

These are just some of the ways we want to see a positive change with the “new government”. Let’s hope that there will be some brighter days for us as Malaysians.

What are some changed you’d like to see?

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