THE IMPACT OF COVID-19 PANDEMIC ON THE MENTAL HEALTH OF COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY STUDENTS
Author(s): Fazlollah Keshavarzi
*, Chia Megan
, Chon Kar Sin
, Chong Chua Wei
, Chong Chun Ming
and Connie Wong Yin Yin
Objectives: To evaluate the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of Malaysian university and pre-university students, especially after the shift to online academic activities, following almost one year of experiencing the pandemic Methods: A cross-sectional online survey was conducted among Malaysian pre-university and university students, nationwide, using perceived stress scale-10 questionnaire and another validated 11-construct questionnaire. Key findings: The online questionnaires were filled out by 383 Malaysian pre-university and university students. About 40% of the respondents reported moderate to severe level of loneliness and social isolation. There was a significant correlation between suicidal thoughts and the social isolation. The prevalence of moderate to severe suicidal thoughts (14% of the respondents) was more than the reported prevalence before COVID-19 pandemic. The residential state, gender and ethnicity of the respondents did not show an association with depressive and suicidal thoughts of the respondents. Conclusion: Loneliness and feeling social isolation were the most prevalent problems, as reported by the students. Suicidal Thoughts are more prevalent, compared to pre-COVID-19 reports. The educators and institution managers must seek for appropriate methods to address the critical condition.