Tuesday, October 15, 2013

More mentally ill Malaysians in 2020

Free Malaysia Today
KOTA BARU: About 10% of Malaysia’s population is projected to experience mental illness by 2020.
Deputy director-general of Health (Public Health) Dr Lokman Hakim Sulaiman said the increase in the number of people aged 50 years and above had implications on the healthcare system with regard to mental and physical health.
“This group will face declining health due to chronic diseases, loneliness due to isolation from family and society, lack of interest due to job loss, and financial problems due to the high cost of living.”
He said this to reporters after opening the Public Service Psychology Seminar held in conjunction with the National-Level World Mental Health Day commemoration at the Kelantan National Culture and Arts Department complex, here, yesterday.
Dr Lokman Hakim said the World Health Organisation predicted that depression, a mental illness, would take second spot affecting this group (aged 50 and above) after ischemic heart disease.
He said the government, family and community must play a role in maintaining the mental health of this group by supporting them positively in preparing for old age.
“Generally, those aged 50 and above will experience emotional, personality and character change, and decline in mind functioning.
“These changes need to be given appropriate attention to help them maintain a good mental health level,” he said.
Dr Lokman Hakim said the Health Ministry would enhance the care, treatment and rehabilitation systems for psychiatric patients through the services available at the hospitals and clinics.
“As a preventive measure, there are four mental institutions and 48 government hospitals that provide psychiatric and mental health services.
“There are now 252 psychiatrists and 80 clinical psychologists, besides 228 family medical specialists at the health clinics to detect and treat patients with mental disturbance or mental illness,” he said.

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