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Sunday November 1, 2009

Mental health milestones

EARLY 1800s: The earliest asylum established in Penang.

1862: Sepoy Lines Institution in Singapore set up.

1898: The “Pauper Hospital” in Kuala Lumpur admits patients who are mentally ill.

1904: Another psychiatric institution, the Mental Hospital of Singapore, is built in Trafalgar Estate (capacity, 1,800 patients).

1911: Tanjong Rambutan hospital established, comprising three male wards and one female ward.

1920s: Mental health services are made available in Sabah and Sarawak.

1933: Hospital Tampoi, Johor, established to cater to the southern region.

1952: Mental Disorders Ordinance is passed to streamline provision of care.

1955: Two local medical officers, Dr M. Subramaniam and Dr Tan Eng Seong, are sent to Britain for psychiatry training followed by paramedical staff.

1958: General Hospital in KL and Ipoh Hospital begin conducting outpatient clinics for the mentally ill.

1959: Penang Hospital begins offering mental health clinic and services

1965: The country’s first professional association for mental health care, the Neuro-Psychiatric Association, is established, with Dr R. Selby, a neurosurgeon, as president.

1970: The Perak Society for the Promotion of Mental Health, a non-governmental body, is formed and is led by F.L. Cowie.

1976: Community psychiatry services begin with the commencement of Peripheral Clinics and a community nursing programme.

1974: There are only eight psychiatrists in Malaysia; the Health Ministry collaborates with universities to train more. Currently, there is a Conjoint Board in Psychiatry overseeing the training.

1977: The Malaysian Psychiatric Association is formed.

1980: Number of psychiatrists rises to 19.

2009: Today, there are about 200 psychiatrists and over 70 clinical psychologists in Malaysia, most of whom are concentrated in large cities. Many are in private practice.

Source: ‘Mental Health Transformation: Our Past, Present, Future by Datuk Dr Suarn Singh.

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