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No Health Without Mental Health? The Southeast Asian Response

1330–1530, Thursday 14 April 2016, C2

Organiser:
Sabrina Anjara
University of Cambridge
sga29@cam.ac.uk

Chair:
Tine Van Bortel
University of Cambridge
tv250@medschl.cam.ac.uk

Discussant:
Tine Van Bortel
University of Cambridge
tv250@medschl.cam.ac.uk

While the World Health Organization has defined health as a composite of both physical and mental health, the society in general often fail to regard the importance of mental health in wellbeing. Rather, the notion of mental health has become a construct of luxury, especially when many people have to pay out-of-pocket for healthcare costs. Unfortunately, psychiatric disorders form a leading cause of disability worldwide, with 23% of Years Lost to Disability (YLD) attributed to them. Southeast Asia is an ethnically and culturally diverse region with countries in various stages of development. In order to promote the wellbeing of its citizens, a number of Southeast Asian countries have begun investing in mental health reforms.

This panel will discuss the mental health systems of three Southeast Asian countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore. Indonesia is a lower-middle income country, while Malaysia is classified as upper-middle income, and Singapore as a high-income country.

 
Paper 1: Indonesia State of Mind

Sabrina Anjara
University of Cambridge
sga29@cam.ac.uk

Sabrina Anjara will introduce Indonesia’s human rights challenges in mental health, the new Mental Health Law of 2014, and two service delivery frameworks in her paper Indonesia State of Mind. As the largest economy and most populous country in Southeast Asia, Indonesia face many implementation challenges despite the ground-breaking Mental Health Law, as the number of qualified mental health professionals and the allocation of health budget for mental health are very limited. Options to ensure service delivery in a low-resource setting like Indonesia will be explored.

 

Paper 2: Mental Health in Malaysia: Are we on the right track?

Ainul Hanafiah
University of Cambridge
anh32@medschl.cam.ac.uk

Ainul Hanafiah will discuss the current challenges to the implementation of Malaysia’s mental health policies in her paper. The current mental health system in Malaysia upholds research evidence and recommendations for decentralised, integrated and deinstitutionalisation and appropriate referral systems incorporating secondary and tertiary care. Nonetheless, findings on the prevalence and impact of mental illness as well as the limitations of epidemiological data are perhaps indicating the inadequacy of the current service, especially policy and practice, in addressing the rising burden of mental illness. To further identify detailed strategies or programs and to evaluate their impact, strengths and/or limitations of the policy, published and grey literature of Malaysian mental health policy development was systematically reviewed.

 

Paper 3: Innovative Advocacy: The Singapore Story

Porsche Poh
Silver Ribbon (Singapore)
porschepoh@silverribbonsingapore.com

While a study reported that 1 in 10 Singaporeans will be stricken with mental illness in their lifetime, many Singaporeans are defaulting and delaying their treatment. In her paper Innovative Advocacy: The Singapore Story, Porsche Poh will highlight challenges and approaches in promoting mental health advocacy through innovative means and elaborate the collaborative effort of local mental health organisations in identifying and addressing gaps in the mental health system.