4 Facts about Mental Health You Didn’t Know
Mental illness is defined as a medical condition that disrupts a person’s thinking, feeling, mood, and ability to relate to others and daily functioning.
People with poor mental health are more vulnerable to the three main factors that can lead to homelessness: poverty, disaffiliation, and personal vulnerability.
Here are four facts about mental health you probably did not know.
1. Mental health is more common than you think
Every three in 10 adults aged 16 years and above have some sort of mental health problems in Malaysia.
Examples of serious mental illnesses include major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and borderline personality disorder.
2. About 800,000 people commit suicide every year
Over 800,000 people die due to suicide every year and suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15 to 29-year-olds.
Mental illnesses contribute to many suicides around the world. Early identification and effective management are essential to ensure that people receive the care they need.
3. Stigma and discrimination against patients and families prevent people from seeking mental health care
Due to the stigma that people with mental illnesses are untreatable or that they are difficult, not intelligent, or incapable of making decisions, people tend to hide the fact that they are facing mental illnesses and avoid seeking mental health care that they need.
This stigma can lead to abuse, rejection and isolation and exclude people from health care or support.
4. Malaysia spends less than one per cent of the health budget on mental health
The new 2018 budget shows there is an increase in the Health Ministry 2018 budget from RM 25 billion in 2017 to RM26.58 billion in 2018.
But, we have yet to see a specific mental health allocation in the health budget.
The ASEAN report of Mental Health Systems (2016) revealed that Malaysia spends merely 0.28 to 0.39% of the health budget on mental health. Despite mental illness causing more loss of health to Malaysians compared to many other non-contagious physical diseases, mental illnesses remain low on the priority list.
In Malaysia, there are numerous organisations that help mental illness patients. One of them is Pertubuhan Kebajikan Mental Selangor (PKMS). PKMS is a home for mental illness patients who are homeless due to their lack of capacity to sustain their life.
Let us not forget to show the patients support as the effects of homelessness can leave them with fewer coping resources in times of trouble.
You too can do your part to help mental illness patients in Malaysia.
You could start with donating any amount you like to PKMS as they are in need of funding to keep the home running. To provide care to the homeless, it is important to create a non-threatening and supportive atmosphere, meet basic needs like food and shelter, and provide care.
You may bank your donation to:
Pertubuhan Kebajikan Mental Selangor
Account number: 3192787531
Bank: Public Bank
For more information on PKMS, visit pkmentalselangor.org/