Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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Brunei Town

Focus on mental health

James Kon

Much more effort is needed to ensure good mental well-being and address gaps in the system, said Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar during the launch of Brunei Darussalam Mental Health Action Plan 2022-2025 yesterday.

The Ministry of Health (MoH) has achieved progress in providing mental health services for the people in the country, said the minister, highlighting mental health care through basic health services, to preparing treatment for patients in tertiary health services (hospitals).

“These services were expanded with mental health helpline and support, namely, Talian Harapan 145 to provide public access to counselling help and advice related to mental health issues,” he added.

He also noted that the establishment of the Mental Health Strategy Unit at the Health Promotion Centre in recent years has complemented other services by focussing on the steps for mental health promotion and education, as well as looking at strategies that can address risk factors that contribute to mental health disorders.

However, the minister said to ensure good health and mental well-being for all, much more effort is needed, hence a holistic mental health agenda, as was outlined in Brunei Darussalam Mental Health Action Plan 2022-2025 launched yesterday.

Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar in a group photo with mental health professionals. PHOTO: JAMES KON

“It is an important platform to achieve the goal of the Ministry of Health and Brunei Vision 2035.

“Therefore I would like to urge all stakeholders in the country, from various agencies and from all levels and sectors of community to strengthen cooperation and remain committed to ensuring the success and effectiveness of the action plan.”

The minister said the frequency of depression, anxiety and stress experienced by population has increased since the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said it is estimated that around 7,000 individuals from all ages are undergoing mental health treatment in hospitals and community health centres.

“In 2020 alone, there were 14 deaths recorded due to suicide. Six cases are of citizens and permanent residents of the country and only three of the reported cases have sought psychiatry and psychological services,” he said.