Malaysia lacks psychiatrists to deal with mental illness

Dr Yii (seated front right) with participants of the workshop.

By Adrian Lim

KUCHING, Sept 21: The country is having a shortage of psychiatrists, clinical psychologists and counsellors to deal with the increasing cases of mental health problems.

Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii said the country only has 410 registered psychiatrists with 204 of them working in the public sector.


“As a whole, Malaysia only has a national average of 1.27 psychiatrists per 100,000 population.

“In contrast, the recommended standard ratio based on World Health Organisation (WHO) and American Psychiatric Association is one psychiatrist per 10,000 people which means we ideally should have at least another 3,000 psychiatrists more in our whole country,” he said in a statement.

Dr Yii said the Ministry of Health’s National Health and Morbidity Survey 2019 found that 420,000 children in Malaysia suffered from mental health problems.

He noted that Malaysia only has 20 registered child psychiatrists in 2018, most of whom were based in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor.

Dr Yii asserted that there were increasing cases of suicide attempts during the Movement Control Order (MCO) period, adding that the month of June has reported 21 cases around the country.

As such, Dr Yii said his Bandar Kuching service centre has recently organised a suicide prevention workshop in collaboration with Befrienders to equip more people so that they can play their roles as part of the whole mental health support ecosystem in the community.

Dr Yii added the workshop include a sharing by renowned clinical psychologist Dr Ng Wai Sheng to train the methods to identify suicide tendencies and how to administer the needed support and therapy to about 50 participants.

He said his service centre will continue to promote more mental health awareness programmes in Kuching as it is important to allow people to seek the necessary help to prevent more suicides. —DayakDaily