Category Archives: Depression

What’s good about Covid-19?

Really, if you have to come up with some positive points about Covid-19, what can you think of?

It’s an exercise I have done with two of my support group members, initially most of them were like.. “Huh? Positive thing about Covid?”, “I can’t think of any”, and after squeezing their brain juices, “Ok, maybe xxx…” reluctantly. But I collected a rather long list in the end, there were more and more coming out:

  • spending more quality time with family
  • spending more time with the self (some people never get the chance to do so)
  • developing some new habits and routine (e.g. work out, cooking their own meals)
  • developing some new interests (e.g. baking, cooking, growing plant, DIY this and that)
  • learning new skills online (e.g. yoga, taekwando, cooking, coding)
  • rediscovering some old passions
  • working from home, saving time on traffic and money on petrol/toll
  • more things go online, becoming more accessible (not just clothes, now you can get fresh seafood and physiotherapy online too)
  • people are more accepting anything online (e.g. psychotherapy, university courses, ballet classes)
  • better problem solving skills facing difficulties, how a lot of people transformed their business and work and career creatively
  • becoming more resilient, more able to cope with stress and challenges
  • spending less on unnecessary items (working from home, no longer need to buy office outfits)
  • started finance planning (due to pay cut, less income generated during this period)
  • better for the earth, animals, plants when humans are all staying home
  • contemplating what humans have done to the mother earth and natural environment
  • contemplating what a tiny virus can lead to and how we should change
  • developing much better hygiene related habits, like washing hands after coming home, wearing masks
  • having more personal space in the public areas! (many people with and without anxiety related issues love this)
  • watching live concert online (being very close without paying for the expensive tickets and worrying about parking, traffic etc)
  • not going home for Chinese New Year celebration, meaning they don’t have to face the relatives and answer their questions (“Why are you still single? Why aren’t you getting married? Why aren’t you having children? Why aren’t you having another baby?” etc) (Happy Chinese New Year, by the way!)

Can you come up with more?

Getting help at an affordable price

I was approached by some students hoping to promote mental health awareness and encourage young people to seek help when they are feeling overwhelmed, burnt out, depressed or anxious for more than a few days. Here are some of my recommendations, the general rule is “affordable” here. Feel free to comment some other services if you are aware of any.

The first point that you can approach is actually any Klinik Kesihatan near you, where you can get a quick assessment, from there, you might get a referral letter or recommendations of what’s next (they do prescribe medication sometimes), all for RM 1 as long as you bring your MyKad with you.

Of course you can also visit your GP, i.e. family doctor, whom you go for when you have cough or cold. They might be able to quickly assess you and refer you to the specialist if needed.

Most major government hospitals offer psychiatric services, some with psychological and counselling services (e.g. UMMC). You will most likely be required to have a referral letter (e.g. from your family doctor or Klinik Kesihatan) before you make an appointment.

You may also approach the Malaysia Mental Health Association (MMHA), some years back they were providing counselling sessions at RM20, I’m not sure if it’s still ongoing now, but do find out more here.

Other than that, you can also check out Few years ago they came to our clinic in KL to promote themselves. They offer individual psychotherapy and counselling at very affordable price, this has been verified by my support group member who used to see his therapist there. You can learn more and book an appointment here.

If what you need is to talk to somebody when you’re feeling hopeless or helpless, you may approach the Befrienders at 03-7627 2929, the call is free when you call from major telcos (Maxis, Digi, Celcom, Telekom, Time, U-Mobile) in Malaysia. You may also email them (

And finally, for women who need help, you can contact the Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) at 03-7956 3488 (24 hour hotline) or whatsapp 018 988 8058.

Please do comment below if there is any information that’s no longer up to date or if you have other recommendation of affordable service. I’d also welcome any organisation or individual offering such services to comment below so that I can add to the list.

Of course you can also drop me a message at 017-2757813 or and I shall try to recommend based on your needs.

In the News: Man Jailed for Attempted Suicide

Quite speechless with things like this still happening in Malaysia:

The Star: Jobless man jailed for trying to kill himself

Instead of providing any direct or indirect help needed, people are being jailed for attempting to end his or her life… I wonder what happens when this person is back in the society.

And what does this sentence serve? To warn people not to kill themselves, and if you really want to do it, make sure you don’t come out alive as you would be jailed?! (*Sarcasm* that really isn’t what I’m trying to say).

Please give yourself a second chance. Malaysia suicide hotlines:

The Befrienders
03-7956 8144/ 03-7956 8145

Life Line Association Malaysia
03-4265 7995

Agape Counselling Center Malaysia
03-7785 5955 / 03-7781 0800

If you come across someone who’s suicidal:

Somebody you know is suicidal…?

COPYRIGHT ©2016 Cengage Learning

Although there is no one best way to approach a situation where suicide may be a possibility, the guidelines that follow may be helpful:

1. Treat the person as a normal human being.

2. Don’t consider the person too vulnerable or fragile to talk about the possibility of suicide. Raise the subject yourself by asking the person directly. For example, “It sounds like you are feeling depressed. Have you been thinking about harming or hurting yourself or committing suicide?”

3. Show the person you care about them even if you don’t know them very well.

4. Help the person talk about and clarify the problem. Those who are depressed may have difficulty pinpointing the problem and may feel frustrated and confused.

5. Listen carefully. People who are considering suicide are in mental and/or physical pain, although you may not be able to guess the type of pain or the source of the problem. Be there to help the person talk about the issue. You don’t need to fix the problem.

6. Suicide is often viewed as the final solution to an overwhelming problem. The person who is depressed may have difficulty sorting out alternative solutions to the problem(s) he/she faces.

7. Encourage the person to seek professional assistance. Crisis hotlines are available in many communities. If an immediate danger of suicide exists, do not leave the person alone. If the crisis seems to be improved for the moment, be sure you have a plan of action regarding professional help before leaving the person. Have the person promise to call you before doing any harm to him/herself. Offer to accompany him/her to see a mental health professional.

8. If the person refuses help, you may need to contact someone close to him/her such as a family member to share your concerns.

9. Maintain contact with the person.

Please give yourself a second chance. Malaysia suicide hotlines:

The Befrienders
03-7956 8144/ 03-7956 8145

Life Line Association Malaysia
03-4265 7995

Agape Counselling Center Malaysia
03-7785 5955 / 03-7781 0800

N.B. The guideline is adapted from Cengage Learning’s materials. This week I’m teaching Mood Disorders and Suicide in the Abnormal Psychology module. I’m going to tell the students to share some suicidal prevention information, hence I’m also doing this myself.

Aid-in-Living & Aid-in-Dying

I talked about Euthanasia (or “mercy killing”) about two years ago. This is from Wikipedia about the Act in Netherlands,

[…] euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide are not punishable if the attending physician acts in accordance with criteria of due care. These criteria concern the patient’s request, the patient’s suffering (unbearable and hopeless), the information provided to the patient, the absence of reasonable alternatives, consultation of another physician and the applied method of ending life.

Euthanasia in Netherlands

It doesn’t just apply to physical illness, but also mental issues, as long as the criteria (including those abovementioneds and some other) are fulfilled.

Whereas in the state of Oregon, they have Oregon’s Death and Dignity Act (ODDA). The decision will be assessed by at least two qualified psychologist or psychiatrist, that the person is capable of making such decision and to rule out impaired judgement due to psychiatric illness. In other words, people who suffer from psychiatric or psychological illness will be denied of this aid-in-dying, because the illness can cause impaired judgement.

The interesting thing is, when asked, most psychologists and psychiatrists said they are not qualified to complete this death-with-dignity evaluation (1/3), or they will refuse or refer to another colleague (53%).

I mean… psychiatrists and psychologists are trained to prevent suicide (talking about us therapists and clinical psychologists). Doesn’t this Act put clinicians in the Oregon state in a very awkward position, if s/he is called upon to carry out the assessment? They would be thrust into a position of being part of this physician-assisted-suicide…

But then the other thing is also that I always believe that any chronic illnesses, especially those that grow in severity over time, if nothing is done to them, will quite often lead to depression. Be it mental, like suffering from OCD for 15 years or more or Panic Disorder for few months or more, or physical illness like arthritis or cancer, we see that people’s emotional wellbeing and quality of life can really deteriorate over time. So how about the chances of the person having quite severe clinical depression, and hence they will be denied of the aid (in Oregon but not in Netherlands)? Wouldn’t this apply to most if not all of the people who’re requesting for the aid?

In Malaysia “active” euthanasia is strictly illegal. But we’ve heard about animals being euthanised by the vets, by the state governments, by some animal societies etc. The restriction isn’t much (if any), the decision doesn’t seem as difficult (surely still very difficult if it’s by a pet owner but still incomparable to that of a human’s)… Why? Especially when humans decide to do that, most of the time, isn’t it for the benefits of ourselves? (governments can’t let the stray pass the disease, owner can’t see their pets suffer or no longer able to look after it etc).

Please give yourself a second chance. Malaysia suicide hotlines:

The Befrienders
03-7956 8144/ 03-7956 8145

Life Line Association Malaysia
03-4265 7995

Agape Counselling Center Malaysia
03-7785 5955 / 03-7781 0800


  • 问别人会不会自杀,会导致其真的去自杀?

这是很多人担心的。但是根据研究(Mathias et al 2012),原本有自杀意念的人,并不会因为被问了而更想自杀,除非问的方法本身有问题(比如带有挑衅、取笑意味等)。


  • 会叫的狗不会咬人,说要自杀的人不会真的自杀?



  • 因为怕痛,自杀未遂的人不会再自杀?