Malaysian Mental Health Association taps into IBM's analytics tool

IBM and the Malaysian Mental Health Association (MMHA) are teaming up to survey public perception surrounding mental health issues to narrow the awareness gap associated with the condition.

The survey would be done using IBM Social Media Analytics, a monitoring tool that captures and consolidates insights from social media to analyse the opinions, interactions and conversation patterns expressed on Facebook, Twitter, online communities, forums and blogs.

“Collaboration with organisations such as IBM and leveraging on the available technology is instrumental as stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness or psychological distress cause many to forego seeking help,” said MMHA president, See Chee Seng.

“MMHA will be able to reach the public far more effectively as a result of the insights gained from this project.”

According to the Health Ministry’s National Health and Morbidity Survey, mental health problems among Malaysians aged 18-years-old and above rose to 29.2% in 2015 from 12% in 2012.

This consulting effort is part of IBM’s Impact Grant program – a pro bono initiative that provides consulting expertise and technology such as cognitive, mobile and social to support nonprofit organizations in serving their stakeholders more effectively.

“By aligning IBM’s talent and technology to MMHA’s expertise, we are able to strengthen the impact we make on the community in the important issue of mental health. We will commit RM73, 000 in technology and expertise as part of our grant to raise awareness of this debilitating disease,” IBM Malaysia's managing director, Chong Chye Neo said.

She added that the outcomes would enable MMHA to devise strategies to improve its program delivery and make actionable recommendations directly to public health officials. This Social Media Analytics Impact Grant for MMHA kicked off late last month where it saw IBM working with MMHA to define search parameters on mental health. Following this, IBM will then put IBM's cloud-based sentiment analytics technology to work to harvest and interpret anonymized data. The analysis is expected to be completed by the end of September.

MMHA is a non-profit organisation represented at the Mental Health Promotion Advisory Council to the Minister of Health.