Thursday January 3, 2013
Financial issues among causes of holiday depression
PETALING JAYA: Celebrations like Christmas or Chinese New Year may be a time of joy for most people, but for some, it is also a time of depression.
Prof Dr Mohamad Hussain Habil of Universiti Malaya’s Psychological Medicine Department said that various factors related to the festive season could cause depression among some people if the situations were not handled properly.
“Financial issues are more likely to be the source of the problem. The holidays usually necessitate a large expenditure as many people may traditionally celebrate the occasion on a large scale,” he said.
“The ‘demand’ for the spending of money by family members could cause stress for some people,” he added.
Crime rates also increase slightly before a festive season, he noted.
His advice? Be rational, live moderately and within one’s means. Other causes of depression could also be the resurfacing of past experiences in which a person reflects on the past, overdrinking or celebrating the festivities alone.
Malaysian Psychiatric Associa-tion founder Tan Sri Dr M. Mahadevan said many people were affected by “seasonal affective disorder” which could be caused by factors such as the socio-economic situation and seasonal change.
Dr Mahadevan advised people to fall back on their religion.
“If you can handle stress well, you will not be depressed,” he added.
Mental Health Promotion Advi-sory Council member Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye stressed on the family unit to reach out to those who suffer from mental anguish.
He said that for example large, extended families should double up as a support group in cases which involved the loss of loved ones.
“The extended family is very important in giving moral support and spiritual assistance,” he added.
Lee said that family members needed to be aware of the mental state of their loved ones and be ready to rally around and support them to make sure they were able to cope.
“You must always be in the right frame of mind so you can think rationally and accept certain realities.”
Those with problems in Penang can contact Befrienders at 04-281 5161 or 04-281 1108. In Ipoh, the numbers are 05-547 7933 or 05-547 7955. In the Klang Valley, call 03-7956 8144 or 03-7956 8145.