No cut in funding for mental healthcare, says minister


Reports by MARTIN CARVALHO, RAHIMY RAHIM and TARRENCE TAN

HEALTH Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba says there is no cut in funds for mental healthcare with a total of RM24mil allocated under Budget 2021.

He said the allocation was one of the initiatives to improve the direction of mental health services and to boost facilities as well as human resources.

“The ministry had collaborated with other ministries including the Higher Education, Education and the Women and Family Development ministries to improve mental health among the people, especially the youth.

“For instance, the Healthy Mental School programme implemented with the Education Ministry involves 2,440 secondary schools and 7,880 primary schools aimed at promoting mental health awareness and identifying students who are experiencing issues, ” he said in reply to a supplementary question from Nor Azrina Surip (PH-Merbok) during Question Time.

Nor Azrina had asked the Health Ministry to explain the reason why there were no additional posts for psychiatrists and a cut of RM31mil from the mental health budget.

Dr Adham also said the ministry had collaborated with the Higher Education Ministry to implement the Healthy Undergraduates Programme in institutions of higher learning to promote healthy living.

“Mental health services can be obtained at 1,001 clinics and four mental institutions as well as 66 government hospitals.

“Counselling and psychology services are provided by 148 certified and trained psychiatrists with an additional 200 new officers deployed at each district in the country.

“The deployment will support counselling services by the Welfare Department, ” he said.

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