Malaysia: Tackle stigma head on

Posted on September 26, 2016

Malaysians need to tackle mental health issues head on and overcome the stigma that is attached to the illness. Deputy director-general of health (public health) Datuk Dr Lokman Hakim Sulaiman said the fear of being labelled "mentally ill" had long been the bane of encouraging those suffering from the disease to seek treatment.

“This is the reason why many cases of mental illness have gone undiagnosed and unreported. We need to address the stigma so that the issue can be addressed effectively,” he told the New Straits Times. Dr Lokman said there were many cases where patients tried to conceal their condition.

“Even those who are employed will hide their condition for fear of being labelled as incompetent,” he said, adding that people should, instead, play a role in promoting good mental health and encouraging those affected to seek help. Families and those closest to the mental health patients, he said, must take the lead in identifying early depressive symptoms at home.

The ministry’s psychiatry services technical adviser Dr Toh Chin Lee said mental patients could be given pharmacological therapy, such as anti-depressants and anti-psychotic drugs. “In addition, they can also be given non-pharmacological therapy, such as counselling, supportive therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), psychosocial intervention, family support, patient education and supported employment.”

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Category(s):Mental Health in Asia

Source material from New Straits Times

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