Some 4.2 million Malaysians are suffering from some form of mental health issues, said Health Minister Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad.
“Based on the National Health and Morbidity Survey 2015 study by the ministry, the prevalence of mental health issues among adults above 16 years old is 29.2%, or 4.2 million Malaysians,” he said in a written reply to a question raised by Nurul Izzah Anwar (PKR – Permatang Pauh) in Parliament.
He added that some 2.1 million women had some form of mental illness.
“However, the percentage refers to those with mental health problems and not mental illnesses,” Dr Dzulkefly noted.
He said that a total of 57,570 women had sought treatment for mental illness at government hospitals between 2010 and 2017.
He also said that 958 government clinics nationwide were involved with screening and intervention programmes, including an antenatal screening package to help expecting mothers deal with stress.
The expecting mothers were also screened to determine if they required treatment to prevent post-partum depression.
Dr Dzulkefly revealed that measures such as increasing the duration of paid maternity leave from 300 days to 360 days were implemented to help lessen stress of mothers.
He said the ministry is also calling on the private sector to provide lactation rooms and day-care facilities for employees with newborn babies.
The ministry has also implemented the KOSPEN Plus mental health training to be included as part of employee training.
For youths, the Program Minda Sihat Sekolah has been in schools since 2014.
The minister said students with mental health issues are referred to health facilities for treatment after obtaining parental consent.
He added that his ministry is working closely with The Befrienders to provide counselling to those with emotional problems, or who are depressed or having suicidal thoughts.