Society in the country needs to understand the importance of good mental health and able to take necessary steps to prevent and treat mental health problems such as depression. According to the Minister of Health, depression is also the largest cause of disability worldwide. Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Doktor Awang Haji Zulkarnain bin Haji Hanafi disclosed the matters in the message in conjunction with World Health Day 2017, today themed 'Depression - Let's Talk'. Yang Berhormat explained that last year, the adult out-patient clinics of the Psychiatric services in Brunei Darussalam recorded a total of almost 9000 consultations. Meanwhile, the child and adolescent mental health service recorded nearly 600 consultations with 40 new cases. Yang Berhormat said, this suggests that mental health problems affect the population across the life-span, from childhood to old age.
The Minister of Health went on to say that people with depression may experience symptoms such as a loss of energy, a change in appetite, sleeping more or less, anxiety, reduced concentration, indecisiveness, restlessness, feelings of worthlessness, guilt or hopelessness, and thoughts of self-harm or suicide. The illness, Yang Berhormat added, can be as a result of personal issues such as financial problems, unemployment, death of a loved one, relationship break-up, lack of supportive relationships, bullying, peer pressure, social isolation, poor housing, physical illness, drug abuse and physical or sexual abuse. Untreated depression, Yang Berhormat said, can also prevent people from working and participating in family and community life. However, depression can be effectively prevented and treated with either a psychotherapy (talking therapy) or anti-depressant medication or a combination of both.
The Minister of Health said, the Psychiatric Services in Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha Hospital is the main provider of mental health services in the country. Services in the community are also provided in the form of specialist clinics in primary health centres, day rehabilitation, school visits and home visits to patients who have been assessed and require treatment at home. In line with the Ministry of Health's strategic priorities to inculcate that health is everyone's business as well as to prevent and control non-communicable diseases, the ministry aims to work with everyone to take away the fear and stigma of mental illness, improve public awareness of the importance of mental health, and support others who may have depression.
Source: Radio Television Brunei