KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 1 — The Selangor state government is allocating RM222,600 in subsidies covering 700 psychiatric treatment slots for state residents who need further specialist intervention.
In collaboration with Universiti Islam Antarabangsa Malaysia (UIAM), psychiatric specialists from the Malaysian Psychiatric Association, and Selcare clinics, the Pakatan Harapan state administration will cover the cost of screening, psychiatrist consultation charges, basic psychotherapy treatment, and medications for the first two weeks for these 700 subsidised psychiatric treatment slots.
“Selangor state residents who wish to obtain the mental health subsidy incentives need to complete early screening on the Selangkah app,” Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud, Selangor state executive councillor in charge of public health, unity, and women and family development, said in a statement yesterday.
“Based on eligibility from early screenings, applicants can choose the Selcare clinic of their choice on the Selangkah app for a second screening. Eligible applicants will be referred to psychiatric specialists for further intervention.
“The state government hopes that these psychiatric treatment subsidy incentives will be able to complement the federal government’s efforts in managing mental health problems, reduce the burden of psychiatric clinics in government hospitals, and provide quicker alternative access to Selangor state residents who need interventions, especially the B40 (bottom 40 per cent) group.”
The new psychiatric treatment subsidy incentives are part of the Selangor Mental Sihat Programme (Sehat) by the Selangor state government’s public health committee, a holistic mental health initiative comprising four main components: public awareness, education, screening, and intervention.
“Selangor was the first state to introduce a digital mental health feature that was integrated in the Selangkah app,” Dr Siti Mariah said.
According to Dr Siti Mariah, since Sehat’s launch in 2021, as many as 60,000 Selangor residents have completed their early mental health screening. Sehat’s psychosocial support helpline has benefitted 312 callers comprising Selangor residents as well as those from out of state.
The National Health and Morbidity Survey 2019 found that 2.3 per cent of adults in Malaysia had depression. Among children 5 to 15 years of age, 7.9 per cent were found to have mental health problems, an increase compared to findings from 2015, mainly due to poor interaction with their peers.