Ministry of Health launches guide on mental health

PETALING JAYA: Malaysians will now be able to know when someone is about to suffer from a mental disorder and quickly seek professional help.

Yesterday, the Department of Health launched a manual, called The Mental Health Book, which contains tips on how to recognize the early warning signs and symptoms of mental illness as well as the treatment and management of the illness.

Minister Datuk Seri, Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad, said one in three Malaysians had mental health issues.

“As such, validated knowledge for the community is one of the most important steps in promoting a better understanding of mental health issues,” he said yesterday during his opening speech.

The manual, a public-private effort, will provide a credible resource to guide Malaysians in dealing with mental health issues, he added.

The president of the Malaysian Psychiatric Association, Dr Hazli Zakaria, said understanding the barriers to how to seek help would ensure timely access to mental health services.

The book, written for easy reading and supplemented with visuals, discusses four mental disorders: depression, anxiety, bipolar and schizophrenia.

Additionally, information is provided on how to contact a person with mental health issues, steps to manage their mental well-being and a directory of mental health services in Malaysia.

The book is accessible at

Separately, Dzulkefly said he would have an audience with the Sultan of Johor tomorrow to inform the ruler of the repairs to the Sultanah Aminah Hospital (HSA) which was burnt down three years ago. Six patients were killed in the fire.

Johor Tunku Mahkota Tunku Ismail Ibni Sultan Ibrahim had previously expressed disappointment at the federal government’s lack of efforts to repair the intensive care unit.

Regarding the lawsuit brought by the family of a victim against the government over the incident, Dzulkefly gave assurances that the findings would be released soon.