THE World Federation for Mental Health has set every October 10 as World Mental Health Day. It is intended to increase awareness and cooperation among members of the public on the importance of mental health as an important part and component in general health, as well as to prevent stigma and discrimination towards those who endure mental disorders.
The theme chosen for this year is “Living with Schizophrenia”, which seeks to handle problems related to schizophrenia, seeing that at present, the number of patients who suffer from this disorder is an estimated 26 million people worldwide. Meanwhile in Brunei Darussalam, schizophrenia is among the three disorders, apart from depression and bipolar disorder, which are referred to psychiatric services.
Among the signs or symptoms of this disorder are unusual behaviour, unintelligible speech, unusual beliefs, failure to recognise what is real, hallucinations and inability to perform everyday activities. This disorder can happen to anyone, but usually, it affects teenagers and youth in their early 20’s. To jointly help them in acquiring a more effective treatment and to prevent the condition from becoming a chronic disease, it is the society’s responsibility, especially family members, to encourage patients to seek treatment at health centres and hospitals as soon as possible.
Basic treatment for schizophrenia is through psychotic medication, which is used to control the disorder’s symptoms, including the stress experienced. However, methods of treatment through observation of physical health and psycho-social treatment such as counselling and ensuring care and sufficient social support, are also important in increasing the effectiveness of the patient’s treatment as a whole. With modern treatment through biological and psychological means found in this country, followed by positive support and assistance from all walks of life especially the patient’s family, Insya Allah (by the will of Allah) the patients who suffer from mental disorders will recover and return to society to enjoy a life of quality.
The Ministry of Health continues to strengthen and improve the quality of mental health service to be more comprehensive, holistic and systematic, to meet the requirements of treatment and care of patients who suffer from mental disorder in this country. Priority in offering mental health services is based on Patient-Centred Care, including a recovery-orientated approach. This is in accordance with to the Mental Health Order 2014 which was approved by His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam recently and will be enforced starting November 1, 2014. This order is intended to protect the rights of mental disorder patients through several tests and observations.
Accordingly, these individuals should be given support not only to obtain treatment and recovery but they will also be able to enjoy facilities that they deserve, thus they will become members of the society who are productive and who will contribute to the family and national socio-economy.