Allocate resources for mental health sectors in upcoming budget, DAPSY tells govt
22 Oct 2021
By Wartawan Nabalu News
KOTA KINABALU: Executive Secretary Democratic Action Party Socialist Youth (DAPSY) Sabah, Chan Loong Wei has urged the government to allocate resources for mental health sectors in the 2022 National Budget that will be announced soon.
He said this is crucial as suicide cases and individuals that have been affected by mental health issues are at alarming rates as they have skyrocketed in a short time span.
The pandemic has led to a lot of social and economic issues such as domestic violence, divorces, death of loved ones, failing businesses, huge debts and many more that contribute to stress, added.
Citing statistics by the Ministry of Health, he said up to 275,000 people have sought psychological first aid in the first four months of 2021, while there was only a total of 65,000 people seeking the same assistance in 2020.
“In the first seven months of 2021, Malaysia has recorded a total of 638 suicide cases which is higher than the whole year of 2020 (631 cases).
“The numbers would only further increase if the government does not allocate more resources to tackle the issue at its roots,” he said in a statement today.
He also cited a report by Befrienders in 2019 which mentioned that more than 30,000 reached out to its 24-hour hotline has had suicidal ideation with one-third of them being aged between 15-29 years old.
“I believe that the numbers have increased rapidly over the pandemic,” he said.
According to Chan, he is concerned over the shortage of mental health services nationwide and urged the federal government to include recommendations made by the Pakatan Harapan Youth’s proposal which is to allocate at least RM45 million to encourage and employ more professional psychiatrists in public hospitals.
Currently, there are only 62 public hospitals, 1,161 health clinics, and 25 Community Mental Health Centres (MENTARI) nationwide that provide psychiatric services.
“At least a professional psychiatrist and a mental health nurse should be available in every public hospital to attend to the needs of Malaysians nationwide.
“The MySalam coverage should also be expanded to include mental health diseases to ensure that B40 and M40 income groups can have access to mental health assessments, especially children.”
The Chief Liaison Officer for Luyang State Assemblyman Phoong Jin Zhe also urged the public to break the stigma on mental health and eliminate conservative mentality when discussing mental health.
“Mental health is as important as physical health, mental diseases are as critical as cancer and others, we must not underestimate the consequences of mental diseases.
“Parents should check on their children’s mental health from time to time and everyone should be kind to one and others around our community,”
“The pandemic has taken away many lovely people from us, your kindness today might save someone back while they are on the verge of breaking down, please continue to be kind,” he said.