Sabah MENTARI offers treatment, rehabilitation programme for mental health patients
KOTA KINABALU,. The Community Mental Health Centre (MENTARI) here is always open to the public in need of treatment related to mental health problems.
A psychiatrist at Hospital Mesra Bukit Padang, Dr Lee Sze Chet (she) said among the services provided at the centre are outpatient treatment, community psychiatry and rehabilitation programmes to assist in the recovery of psychiatric patients.
“Having mental health problems does not mean a dark future because there is still a chance for the patient to live a normal life again.
“As such, support from the community, family and a more organised treatment, as well as skills training, can give the patient the opportunity to live independently and even work like a normal person and earn a living,” she told Bernama.
Dr Lee said the services provided by MENTARI are also aimed at reducing the duration of treatment in the ward, make intervention follow-up treatment at home after consultation with specialists and making psychosocial assessment.
Dr Lee said MENTARI, which aims to improve the mental health of residents, also provides support programmes to help patients looking for job.
In line with its function, Dr Lee said MENTARI always carry out programmes, including holding various activities, through the social media such as on Facebook, announcement over radio, talks at Kota Kinabalu health clinic, as well as online talks.
Dr Lee, who has been given the responsibility of managing MENTARI since last June, said based on the 2019 National Health and Morbidity Survey, 4.0 percent of Sabahans suffer from depression ,which is one of the mental illnesses.
Therefore, she said, individuals with mental health issues should not be labeled as ‘crazy’, since the stigma and discrimination by the society towards patients are also among the factors that make it difficult for people to seek early treatment.
“Mental patients also need to be treated like patients with physical problems. People do not need to be ashamed, but be brave enough to seek treatment and dare to seek help because mental illness can still be treated and cured,” he said.
She said individuals who need treatment or mental health screening test can call 088240984 for an appointment.
Meanwhile, Dr Lee said MENTARI in Sabah was established in January 2015 and was placed under the management of the Hospital Mesra Bukit Padang .
It started operations in April the same year, he added.
The main objectives of the MENTARI are to provide continuing treatment in an easier and more accessible manner, provide psycosocial interventions including counselling, psychotherapies, and psychoeducation, promote screening of mental illness and promote early treatment as well as to reduce stigma and discrimination.
The setting up of MENTARI, with the first in Putrajaya in 2012, is in response to requirements of the new Mental Health Act and Regulations (2010) which advocated for upgrading of community-based services to improve mental health of the population.
It’s a new approach initiated by the Ministry of Health to improve outreach and re-integration of people with mental health problems.
The official name is ‘Community Mental Health Centre’: the term MENTARI is an attempt for image-branding i.e. “MENTA” from the word ‘mental’ and “RI” from ‘psikiatri’.
The MENTARI is managed by the Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health in the nearest hospital. The treatment team in MENTARI is led by a psychiatrist; and team members include medical officers, occupational therapists, nurses, and medical social workers. Volunteers provide assistance in non-clinical activities.