Niosh to aid Health Ministry strengthen mental health development
KUALA LUMPUR: The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is prepared to assist the Health Ministry in improving various aspects of workers’ health, including those in the health industry. Its chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said in a meeting with Health Minister Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad recently, several matters were discussed. He said this was namely to strengthen the mental health development plan, to improve the healthcare services and to ensure health premises such as clinics and hospitals are safe.
“Dr Dzulkefly was highly receptive of the proposals presented to him during the meeting and he agreed to consider them thoroughly,” Lee said in a statement today. Lee, who is also a member of the Mental Health Promotion Advisory Council, said mental health issues must be addressed following various cases of violence and crime involving those with mental disorders.
Citing Universiti Malaya (UM) consultant psychiatrist Professor Dr Ng Chong Guan, Lee said the increase in mental patients among the population of the country will double in 10 years.
“Based on the ratio, one in three people face mental health problems and this figure is increasing on a worrying trend every year,” he said.
He added the government must find ways to discard the public stigma on mental illness so that patients could be identified and treated at an early stage.
“A special team should be established to implement and monitor the strategy under the mental health development plan and coordinate integrated efforts to help address the issue,” he said.
Lee said sufficient allocation should be provided to address mental problems including training more counselors, psychiatrists and psychologists.
“Some funding is also needed to promote good mental health in the community.”
On the level of public healthcare, Lee said it also needs to be enhanced with the use of modern equipment and up-to-date information technology systems to speed up disease diagnosis and reduce waiting time.
“While on safety aspect of health premises, especially hospitals and clinics, it should also be improved.” He said the Fire and Rescue Department has revealed that some public and private health premises have high risk of fire.
Lee said NIOSH is willing to assist the ministry to raise the level of occupational safety and health among health workers as well as reducing the number of commuting accidents.
“NIOSH, through its subsidiary NIOSH Certification Sdn Bhd, also has the expertise in performing safety audits.
“The company’s expertise has been certified and recognised by international bodies,” he said.