New centres with full facilities available for chronic mental patients

Participants at the fourth Ipoh Mental Health Convention at Kinta Riverfront Hotel and Suites.

PSYCHOSOCIAL Rehabilitation Centres (PSR) in Perak are underutilised because of the lack of awareness among family members of chronic mental patients.

State Health Department director Datuk Dr Juita Ghazalie said while each centre has sufficient facilities to accommodate around 15 to 20 patients, attendance at PSR programmes has not been encouraging.

She said as rehabilitation was a constant, ongoing process, only a few patients would come in every now and then, without attending the programme properly.

“PSR is one of the most important facilities for patients with chronic mental illnesses and not many people know that they can send mental patients in their family here for vocational training.

“Those with chronic mental illnesses sometimes forget their responsibilities or how to do simple things they’ve learned like cooking and bathing.

“PSR can act like a day care centre for them to relearn these things so that they can go home and be self-sufficient,” she said after opening the fourth Ipoh Mental Health Convention at Kinta Riverfront Hotel and Suites recently.

Currently, the only three centres in Perak are in Tanjung Malim, Bagan Datoh and Ayer Tawar.

They run from Monday to Thursday every week from 9am to 4pm.

Dr Juita added that three more centres in Kampung Simee, Selama and Batu Gajah have been upgraded to Community Mental Health Centres (CMHC) as attendance there was slightly higher than the rest.

“At these centres, it is more than just rehabilitation services they are offering.

“Screening, diagnosis and treatment of simple mental diseases like lack of sleep and anxiety can also be conducted there,” she said.

Dr Juita stressed that it was a joint responsibility among health professionals and the community to come together to help chronic mental patients live a normal life just as they had before.

“Support from family members is extremely important for us. We have the facilities, we just need them to bring their mentally ill family members to us,” she said, adding that both PSR and CMHC have been around since 2011.

Earlier, in her speech, Dr Juita mentioned that the health sector needed to come up with precautionary steps to prevent mental health issues from deteriorating into mental illnesses.

The National Health and Morbidity Survey 2011 found that 2.6% of urban residents suffer from depression, while it was 2.1% for rural folk.

“Come 2020, depression is expected to be the second leading cause of global disease burden.

“It is high time the health sector engage with more of the public to teach them how to handle stress and promote the importance of early detection,” she said.

Also present at the convention was Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital psychiatry and mental health department head Dr Rajinder Singh. The convention participants comprised general hospital staff from around the country.

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