MOH To Establish National Centre Of Excellence For Mental Health

The excellence centre will be established in the near term, Khairy Jamaluddin says.

KUALA LUMPUR, August 18 – The Ministry of Health (MOH) will set up a National Centre of Excellence for Mental Health (NCEMH) in an effort to streamline government, private and non-profit responses to mental health issues nationwide.

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the centre aims to reduce the gap in mental health care and increase the quality of the nation’s mental health services through promotional, prevention, and intervention activities intended to increase literacy, reduce stigma and make mental health services more accessible.

The excellence centre will be established in the “near term”, according to Khairy’s July 19 written parliamentary reply to Batang Lupar MP Rohani Abdul Karim and Pandan MP Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, who both inquired about the government’s effort to address rising mental health issues that were exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Khairy said the government had expanded its counselling services at the primary care level through the placement of 200 contract counsellors at 138 district health offices to provide scheduled services in 831 health clinics across the country. The placement contracts were further extended until August 3, 2023.

A psychosocial support services hotline was also in service at the national, state and district levels to provide emotional and psychosocial support to people who are affected. As of June 30, 2022, the hotline has received a total of 306,524 calls of which 72.4 per cent required emotional and counselling support, Khairy said.

In Malaysia, prevention, screening and basic treatment services are given at the primary health care level in 1,161 health clinics and community sites. Multiple partnerships were formed with civil societies to increase mental health awareness, Khairy said.

Secondary treatment and rehabilitation services for patients who have been identified as suffering from mental illness are provided in 56 specialist hospitals and four mental institutions across Malaysia with the support of 35 community mental health centres, or MENTARI.

The team in MENTARI works as a multidisciplinary team consisting of not only psychiatrists, medical officers, nurses, assistant medical officers but may be assisted by occupational therapists, clinical psychologists, counsellors and even volunteers.

Communal mental health teams are also involved in follow-up treatment and default tracing to identify patients, assumingly to those who suffer from schizophrenia who do not show up for treatment, and in providing home injections to default cases.

Khairy added that regulations and law under the Criminal Procedure Code (Act 593) and the Mental Health Act 2001 can be used against individuals with undiagnosed mental health illness who are involved in violent or criminal activities.

You may also like