The 10th Perak Mental Health Convention with the theme Mental Health Care Delivery: Transforming Challenges Into Opportunities was opened by Dato’ Dr Hj Azman bin Hj Abu Bakar, Director of Medical Development, Ministry of Health at Hotel Casuarina @ Meru recently.
In his address Dr Azman said that society needs to be made aware of mental health by changing their mindset on the stigma and perception towards mental patients. Social stigma on mental patients has remained unchanged and they are not getting moral support from society. He said changes are important for society to understand what mental health is. He added that through a new mindset, society should be capable of giving mental patients and their family an opportunity to live life to the fullest in community. The Health Ministry’s focus now is on outpatient rather than inpatient treatment and young children must be taught about mental health.
In her welcome address, Dr Hjh Rabaiah bt Mohd Salleh, Medical Director and Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist, Hospital Bahagia Ulu Kinta said that the convention was held in conjunction with World Mental Health Day which fell on October 10. She added that there are patients who felt embarrassed and were reluctant to get treatment because of society’s negative perception. Many people who have mental health conditions consider their signs and symptoms a normal part of life or avoid treatment out of shame or fear.
Symposiums were held on various topics including Rights of Patients, Setting up Psychiatric services in the community and other technical topics on mental health.