More psychiatry and clinical psychology services needed for Malaysia's ageing population

Published by on Oct 14, 2013, 03:53 pm

  • About 10 per cent of Malaysia's population is projected to experience mental illness by 2020.  The country's population is expected to hit 35 million seven  years from now.


According to Deputy General of Health Datuk Dr Lokman Hakim Sulaiman, the increase of people aged 50 years and above had implications on the healthcare system with regard to mental and physical health.

"This group will face declining health due to chronic diseases, loneliness due to isolation from family and society, lack of interest due to job loss, and financial problems due to the high cost of living," he said.

He added that depression would take the second spot affecting this age group (50 and above).

At the moment, Malaysia has 252 psychiatrists and 80 clinical psychologists in health clinics to detect and treat patients with mental disturbance or mental illness.

In 2012, the Ministry of Health released the ratio of clinical psychologists and psychiatrists to population which is respectively 1:980,000 and 1:125,000 . The figures evidently show that there is not enough specialists to keep up with the expected increase of patients suffering mental illness.

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