Malaysia badly needs more psychiatrists

by | May 30, 2024 | BEAUTY & HEALTH, LIFESTYLE, NATIONAL, NEWS | 0 comments

According to the National Health & Morbidity Survey 2023, more than a million Malaysians over the age of 15 are experiencing depression and what is of concern is that more than half the patients exhibit self harming behaviour and suicidal tendencies.

In January 2022, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that around 264 million people of all ages were affected by depression globally and this is why health authorities are viewing the situation seriously.

But in Malaysia there is an acute shortage of psychiatrists to deal with cases of depression and other mental health issues and WHO suggests a minimum ratio of at least one psychiatrist per 100,000 Malaysians.

In the country today there are only about 500 psychiatrists which means that the current ratio is around 0.52 psychiatrists per 100,000 patients which falls very short of the ideal recommendation of WHO.

A mental health expert stated that cases of depression are more prevalent in major cities owing to the presence of more stressors, especially in the case of those with financial problems, low or no income and poor social support.

The most affected age group are those between the ages of 20 and 40 while depression in middle aged and elderly individuals are mostly due to suffering chronic or terminal illnesses compounded by marital and financial problems.