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Yeap R, Low WY
Correspondence: Dr Reiko Yeap, firstname.lastname@example.org
Introduction This study examines the general public’s knowledge of mental health and explores effective tools to promote good mental health through a household survey of a representative sample of the Malaysian population residing in Klang Valley, Malaysia.
Methods A total of 587 respondents, aged 18 years and older, responded to a series of questions in relation to mental health issues. Respondents were requested to specify how they learned about the information. Following that, an attitude scale was presented to the participants, and they were requested to rate how much they agreed to the statements.
Results The findings indicated that the majority of the respondents did not have good knowledge of mental health. However,all respondents displayed a neutral attitude towards mental health issues. It was found that ethnic background, religion, educational level and residential location were the few demographic characteristics found to be significantly related to either the respondent’s knowledge or attitude towards mental health issues. With regard to seeking help, while the respondents’ ethnic background influenced their decisions, younger respondents and respondents with better attitude towards mental health were more willing to seek help.
Conclusion This study has implications for promoting the understanding of the general mental well-being as well as the importance of seeking help for mental health in the local population. Steps should be taken to improve the public’s understanding of, and attitude towards mental health. These include the presentation of a positive image and the dissemination of accurate information by the mass media, the primary source for information on mental health.
Singapore Med J 2009; 50(12): 1169-1176