Ministry ups mental health centres

Sen David / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Patients enter the mental health facility at the Khmer Soviet Friendship Hospital. KT/Chor Sokunthea

The Health Ministry has published a list of more than 400 health centres offering treatment for mental disorders and drug abuse, including their locations and contact numbers.

The ministry expanded its outreach efforts to address mental health issues and drug abuse in public health facilities from 177 in 2016 to 419 in 2017 and has increased this number to 431 this year.

“Patients can now find out where to seek mental health services or treatment for drug abuse throughout the country,” a press release obtained yesterday said.

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Yim Sobotra, head of mental health and substance abuse at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital, yesterday said that these days a lot of people are aware of mental health issues through publications and workshops.

“If they know they have mental problems they should please hurry to a hospital or clinic for treatment,” he said. “Mental health illness, whether it is minor or serious, can affect anyone, especially youth.”

In 2017, 90,672 people received consultation and treatment for all types of mental illness in public health centres, which was less than the 107,497 cases recorded in the previous year.

Twenty-one percent of mental health problems reported by public health facilities were caused by stress, 20 percent through lack of sufficient sleep, 12.6 percent by depression and 4.5 percent through drug abuse. Of these, 5.4 percent were serious cases.

In addition to expanding coverage for treatment, the Health Ministry has trained 393 doctors and nurses to treat mental health and drug addiction and collaborated with international experts to train 21 Cambodians to provide professional counselling.

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At the request of the Department of Mental Health, the Department of Planning and Health has also decided to add 22 additional mental health diagnostics centres to facilitate analysis and intervention.

Venerable Toch Sarith yesterday said that some people face mental problems and do not know how to treat them. He said some of them resort to becoming drug addicts, or commit suicide.

“When we meet people with mental health issues, we advise them to seek treatment at health facilities,” Ven Sarith said. “We also advice those who are suffering from stress to meditate in quiet and peaceful surroundings.”

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