The Kelantan State Health Department has run mental health screenings on 16,000 individuals in the state this year through the Depression Anxiety Stress Scales (DASS) programme.
DASS director Datuk Dr Zaini Hussin, said the screening was conducted in health clinics throughout Kelantan from January to June, and involved individuals aged 18 and above.
“The DASS programme has been implemented to ensure that individuals with mental health issues can be identified early, given treatment, and resume leading a normal life.
“The screening uses a number of questions and the participants will be evaluated for whether they are in the mild, moderate, severe, or extremely severe state of depression, anxiety or stress. Those who are in the mild and moderate levels will be provided treatment, while those who are in the severe and extremely severe states will be referred to a psychiatrist,” he said.
He was speaking to reporters when met at the state-level World Mental Health Day celebration, here today.
Dr Zaini said mental health issues were very sensitive and often perceived negatively by the public.
“Our society usually links mental health problems to insanity. This notion is wrong because insanity is only one of the types of mental health problems,” he said.
According to him, mental health issues will be the second-highest health problem for Malaysians by 2020.
He said the situation was a warning to all parties to take more effective measures, especially in raising awareness of the issue.
Based on the 2015 national health and morbidity survey, 39.1% of adults (aged 16 and above) in Kelantan were affected by mental health problems, while for children it was 10.3%