It’s maddening to know what will be the biggest illness by 2020

Mental illness is a serious issue in Malaysia where 4.2 million people are said to suffer from various mental sickness

A report says one out of three locals suffer from mental health problems while the Ministry of Health says 4.2 million Malaysians are suffering from some form of mental health issues.

If we go by the health ministry report, that would be 1 out of 7 Malaysians are suffering from mental health issues, which is a huge figure to start with. The figure was revealed last year by Minister of Health Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad.

But reports this year says a study shows that by 2020 mental illness is expected to be the second biggest health problem affecting Malaysian.

Yayasan Sime Darby CEO Dr Yatela Zainal Abidin says, “However, unfortunately, mental health remains one of the least addressed health challenges in the country.”

Though mental illness is less taboo and is openly discussed in some societies, in Malaysia it is still something not to talk about.

global mental health metric

“It is subject that is instinctively avoided to a point that it has become taboo. It is a topic that tends to be brushed aside and under the carpet, due to stigma as we do not understand it,” she says.

Compared to global mental health data it is imperative that Malaysia takes hold of the situation and address the issues behind the rise of mental illness in the country.

The Institute for Health Metrics Evaluation (IHME) shows that in 2017, just under 300 million people worldwide suffered from anxiety, about 160 million from a major depressive disorder, another 100 million from the milder form of depression known as dysthymia.

According to data from the IHME’s Global Burden of Disease, about 13% of the global population – some 971 million people – suffer from some kind of mental disorder. Dementia is the fastest-growing mental illness.

In Malaysia, some 2.1 million women had some form of mental illness.

A total of 57,570 women had sought treatment for mental illness at government hospitals between 2010 and 2017.

According to the IHME report, mental illnesses are still not universally accepted. People with mental illnesses still complain of discrimination; 300,000 people with long term mental health problems lose their jobs every year – and that’s just in the UK.

<<And while disorders like depression and anxiety are becoming more accepted by the public, schizophrenia, personality disorders and psychosis are still poorly understood.>>

In Malaysia, the National Health and Morbidity Survey 2015 study by the ministry shows the prevalence of mental health issues among adults above 16 years old (29.2%).

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