The HEALTH : May 2019 - Page 12

The Health | MAy, 2019 12 ISSUE: MENTAL HEALTH Ways to ensure individuals receive sufficient treatment for their mental wellbeing: • Every individual who comes into the public • • • • • Profit-driven culture of the workplace can instill huge amount of stress, which can lead to poor mental health for employees. Employers’ responsibility in mental health The Ministry of Health implores employers to take on responsibility for their employee’s mental health and wellbeing A ccording to Director General of Health, Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdul- lah, it is the role of the employer to bring their employees to a healthcare facility if they see their mental health is compro- mised in any way. “The Ministry of Health (MOH) takes great emphasis on the mental health matters, and have organised a program called the Komuniti Sihat Pembina Negara (KOSPEN Plus). The program is an initiative to build a more healthier and productive workplace and culture,” he states. Mental health study The National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS) organised by MOH in 2015 showed 29.2 percent of Malaysians from the age of 16 to 32 are facing varying levels of mental health issues. However, this particular statistic excludes mental illnesses such as schizophre- nia or bipolar disorder. Mental health issues usually occur in an individual when he or she is faced with emotional disturbances, 10 percent in 2017. Services are readily available MOH have seen the importance of mental health and wellbeing among Malaysians, and have made psychiatry and mental health services available in four major mental health institute and 52 government hospitals nationwide. Not to mention the referral centres where nurses and doctors from 958 public clinics (klinik kesihatan) are well-equipped for mental health screening and intervention, follow-up treatments for mental health patients, and psychosocial rehabilitation services. MOH have also developed 32 Community Mental Health Centres (MENTARI) nationwide to provide early detection as well as rehabilitation. Individuals are trained in vocational skills such as cooking as a way to instill independence. And for individuals who are of stable mental health state, they could also be given employment opportunities as well. The factors contributing to compromised mental health Chronic illnesses such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart conditions have proven to correlate with mental health issues such as depression. Furthermore, these factors will be in more effect if the individual has poor coping skills. “Even though the government have been providing services and treatment for mental health issues, the effects of the stigma surrounding them have prevented some to come forth and share the problems they have. This goes for the families as well, as some may feel ashamed of their own family member who are strug- gling with mental health issues.” “The stigmatization of mental health may come in the form of mystic beliefs and paranormal intervention, which unfortunately still lives in our society today,” laments Dr Noor Hisham. “Lack of understanding and access may also become factors as to why many are still being left untreated and unsupported,” he adds. What KOSPEN is all about The program comprises six scopes, which includes; health eating, no-smoking culture, active lifestyle, proper bodyweight management, health screenings, and mental health. “One of the scopes of KOSPEN Plus greatly takes into account the role of employers in mental health management at the workplace. Therefore the need for proper training for employers is present as it can provide them with sufficient knowledge and awareness on mental health in the workplace. It can also teaches them to look for early signs of mental health issues and the preventative steps to be taken.” Dr Noor Hisham also presses the need for some type of monitoring process to ensure employers are playing their part adequately as well. clinic (klinik Kesihatan) and are suspected to experience any kind of mental health issues needs to be referred to the family medicine specialist. The specialist in family medicine will consult and treat the individual as they see fit, and will refer them to a psychiatrist if need be. The individual who are referred to a psychiatrist must undergo consultation and treatment as per the psychiatrist’s evaluation of mental health. Treatment may include medication, psychotherapy, and assisted therapy. Besides therapy and medication, individuals would also need sufficient amount of counselling, psychosocial rehabilitation, as referral to therapists and social treatment officers. For individuals with mental health issues but are deemed stable, they will need to do routine follow-ups at their local public clinics as needed. Dr Noor Hisham, representing the Ministry of Health, implores better workplace culture, healthier lifestyle, and more responsibility by employers towards their employees. or when there’s a feeling inside which affects their daily functions and routine. Not to the point where psychological symptoms appear however. Mental health issues usually occurs more among women (30.8 percent) than men (27.6 percent). More alarming however, is when MOH have done similar survey among schoolchildren aged between 13 and 17 in 2017, they found that 18.3 percent of them are depressed. Suicidal tendencies among these youths had also risen, from 7.9 percent in 2012 to Does poor mental health contribute to crime? Dr Noor Hisham firmly believes that no, poor or compromised mental health does not lead to crime or violence. “Studies have shown that the majority of individu- als performing acts of violence and terrorism are not affected by any forms of mental illnesses (American Psychiatric Association, 1994). On the contrary, many of the mentally-ill have become the victims of crime and violence instead,” he stresses. In regards to cases involving violence against indi- viduals, it has been found to not involve people with mental illnesses, but are traced back to factors such as substance abuse and alcohol. — The Health