Yii (right) inks his signature on the centre’s plaque.

MIRI: A newly launched ‘Galeri Minda’ of Mentari Miri in Rumah Kenyalang at Tanjong Lobang will serve as a one-stop centre (OSC) for those who have mental health issues.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the centre yesterday, Miri mayor Adam Yii said besides providing support to those seeking treatment, the centre could help deliver the correct messages to the public on mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety, which are now considered legitimate health conditions which can be managed via treatment and therapy.

Yii lauded efforts made by Miri Mental Health Association (MHA) for collaborating with the State Health Department in establishing the centre as it could effectively provide counselling and disseminating valuable information.

Meanwhile, Miri Hospital director Dr Jack Wong emphasised to the community on the importance of reducing the stigma on mental health disorders.

“We don’t call people with mental health disorders ‘gila’ (‘crazy’) — it’s a very broad spectrum,” said Dr Wong.

Yii (right) inks his signature on the centre’s plaque.

In fact, he said, mental health disorders are a great concern throughout the world.

He added that in Malaysia, it is expected that mental health disorders will be the second highest form of health problem affecting Malaysians — after heart disease — by 2020.

He said according to findings, the prevalence of mental health problems among adults increased from 10.7 percent in 1996 to 11.2 percent in 2006, and to 29.2 percent in 2015.

“Meaning to say that every three in 10 persons aged 16 years old and above have some sort of mental health problem,” he said.

DrWong added that Malaysia is still in need of more psychiatrists to help address mental health issues.

“There are 360 registered psychiatrists in the public and private sectors.

“The ratio of psychiatrists to the Malaysian population is 1:200,000, whereas the World Health Organisation (WHO) has recommended a ratio of 1:10,000,” he said.

In Miri, Dr Wong added, its psychiatry department also observed an increase in the number new cases — from 636 cases in 2014 to 1,195 cases last year.

The Mentari Miri is a smart partnership between Miri Hospital and Miri community represented by Miri Mental Health Association (MHA).

Mentari Miri started operation on July 3 last year. Currently, it is manned by a psychiatrist, a medical officer, a nursing sister, a staff nurse and a volunteer.

It is open every Wednesday and Thursday from 8am to 5pm.