Tackling mental health woes
Date: 27 November 2006
By: Annie Freeda Cruez
Kuala Lumpur: With more Malaysians having mental problems, RM900 million has been allocated under the Ninth Malaysia plan to tackle the problem.
Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek said the Government was not only concerned with the rising number but also that less than 10 per cent were seeking treatment.
He felt the biggest problem was the fear of the stigma faced by sufferers and this needed to be tackled.
“There are millions of people, including children, going about with mental health problems. They need help.”
Some 3.9 million Malaysians are believed to be suffering from some form of mental health problem at present.
The National Health and Morbidity Survey 1996 showed that mental health problems were prevalent among 100 per cent of the population, while among children it was 13 per cent.
“The mental health prevalent can now be seen in at least 15 per cent of the population today,” he said after launching the mental Health Month, organized by the Mental Health Foundation, at Putra World Trade Centre yesterday.
He said there was need to create awareness on the issue of mental health as most people think that if they were physically healthy, then they were also mentally fit.
Under the Healthy Lifestyle campaign, he said mental health was also a component that was being addressed through education, public health forums, seminars and distribution of pamphlets.
This article was first published in The News Straits Times, Monday, August 14, 2006