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The Mental Health Development in Malaysia: History, Current Issue and Future Development

Sheau Tsuey Chong, M. S. Mohamad

Abstract

In recent years, the burden of caregiving for mental illness service users has been alarming due to the lack of resources in mental health services in Malaysia. The issue of caregiving for mental illness service users in Malaysia now then become more complex because of its multiracial society, with people from different cultural backgrounds and who possess varied beliefs and attitudes. This paper aims to review the development of mental health services from the era of independence till the post millennium era. Firstly, the researchers discuss the history of mental health development by looking at mental health institution from the perspective of government plan. Secondly, the development of mental health policy is followed. Thirdly, mental health resources in terms of professional service providers and physical support are reviewed in this section. Lastly, current issues on mental health service and recommendation for future research. In conclusion, we suggest that it will be more effective for mental health professionals to join together to take collective action through the existing organisations such as the Malaysian Social Workers’ Association, Malaysian Mental Health Association and Malaysian Psychiatric Association. Furthermore, mental health professionals can help the caregivers organise their own family support groups through partnership in order to voice their opinions to the government/policy makers for the improvement and development of social policy.

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