Cambodia's Mental Health Problem

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Cambodia's Mental Health Problem

Post by CEOCambodiaNews » Thu Jan 24, 2019 11:51 am

Mental health in Cambodia does not receive enough attention, and we see the effects of the neglect in local news stories every day: violent axe attacks, domestic violence, houses burnt down, child abuse, and suicides are all common events, and most of them don't even make the news here on CEO.

Experts aim to tackle mental illness among Cambodians
21 January 2019
Pyschologists and mental health experts said on Sunday that mental illness is curable, but there is a lack of understanding of it among Cambodians, causing them not to consult with experts.

The issue was raised at the Project Inspire Conference 2019 – under the theme of Mental Health and Wellbeing – held on Sunday at the Cambodia-Korea Cooperation Centre at the Royal University of Phnom Penh.

The gathering aims to inspire action regarding the emotional and mental wellbeing of youth in contemporary society.

Dr Muny Sothara, a psychologist and deputy head of general diseases at Preah Kossamak Hospital, said at the event that his hospital receives 30-50 mental health patients per day, while at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital it is up to 200-300 per day.

“Most of our youths do not seek treatment by themselves. Most of the people seeking treatment for this type of illness are adults who have many problems,” he said.

Sothara said the majority of people seeking help at his hospital did not know they had the disease and had only realised their mental health was unstable after consultation.

“First, they complain only about physical problems and, once we properly diagnose their condition, they realise that the problem is related to mental health."

“Knowledge of mental illness remains limited for the general population. They feel shy and discriminated against. This prevents them from seeking treatment. Even when they know they have a mental illness, they will not openly talk about it."

“I want to inform the public that mental illness is not terrible or incurable. Mental illness is curable,” he stressed.
https://www.phnompenhpost.com/national/ ... cambodians
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Re: Cambodia's Mental Health Problem

Post by CEOCambodiaNews » Sun Feb 03, 2019 6:02 pm

The authorities have acknowledged that there is a problem, but they still have a long way to go.

1 min ago - BREAKING NEWS
Ministry ups mental health centres
The Health Ministry has published a list of more than 400 health centres offering treatment for mental disorders and drug abuse, including their locations and contact numbers.

The ministry expanded its outreach efforts to address mental health issues and drug abuse in public health facilities from 177 in 2016 to 419 in 2017 and has increased this number to 431 this year.

“Patients can now find out where to seek mental health services or treatment for drug abuse throughout the country,” a press release obtained today said.
https://www.khmertimeskh.com/574744/min ... h-centres/
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Re: Cambodia's Mental Health Problem

Post by CEOCambodiaNews » Tue Sep 08, 2020 8:56 pm

Cambodia’s Mental Health Issues Need Greater Attention
Image
Hoeur Sethul is a counselling psychologist, the founder of Khmer Counselling Psycho-Education Services (KCPS) and president of the Cambodia Association for Counsellors and Psychologists (CACP). Photo supplied.
Sao Phal Niseiy 06/09/2020 11:46 AM

The need for more professionals and services is especially urgent in view of the pandemic, according to the president of the Cambodia Association for Counsellors and Psychologists

Hoeur Sethul is a counselling psychologist, the founder of Khmer Counselling Psycho-Education Services (KCPS) and president of the Cambodia Association for Counsellors and Psychologists (CACP). He obtained his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the Royal University Phnom Penh and a Master in Counselling Psychology from De La Salle University in the Philippines. Based on his 20 years of experience in working with local and international NGOs and private companies in Cambodia, Sethul shared, during an interview, his views on the mental health issues that have surfaced in the country due to the pandemic, the challenges this presents and what should be done to assure people’s mental well-being.

Sao Phal Niseiy: As president of the Cambodia Association for Counsellors and Psychologists, would you share with us your views on the current mental-health situation in the country?

Hoeur Sethul: There is a shortage of mental health services in Cambodia. The third strategic plan 2016-2020 of the Ministry of Health does not include mental healthcare and makes no specific mention of the need to develop mental health services. The national budget for mental healthcare is less than 1 percent [of the Health Ministry budget]. Since 1994, the country has had around 60 psychiatrists and 40 to 45 psychiatric nurses. The numbers do not appear to have increased much since the course provided by University of Health Sciences in Phnom Penh was suspended several years ago.


There are no specific statistics regarding counsellors and psychologists in the country. The Royal University of Phnom Penh (Department of Psychology) has allegedly trained 1,000 students in general psychology, but the majority of them inevitably ends up working in a different field of service. The University of Puthisastra has recently set up two graduate programs leading to Western-standard diplomas in professional health counseling. However, even though they are very successful, there is a possibility of the programs being suspended for the foreseeable future due to a lack of financial support.

Drug and alcohol use are contributing factors to the psychological problems in our society today. This may be traced back to the end of the civil war [in 1991]. The global crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic now adds to the factors negatively impacting mental health in Cambodia. The escalation of violence and traffic accidents are also indicative of the drug addiction and alcohol consumption issues we face. Studies show that those addicted to drugs and alcohol are more prone to mental wellbeing problems and mental illness. The prevalence of suicide is approximately 13 to 14 per 100,000 people in the country, which is very high in Southeast Asia. A recent study before the pandemic showed that the rate of depression was 16.7 percent, anxiety 27.4 percent and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) 7.6 percent. Overall, no less than 1.5 million people are living with a variety of mental health problems. The number is likely to increase due to the global crisis caused by COVID-19.

Sao Phal Niseiy: How would you describe people’s attitude and perception toward mental health issues in the country?

Hoeur Sethul: There still is a general lack of understanding about mental health issues in Cambodia, which leads to stigma and discrimination against people with mental illness. Cambodians often refer to those with mental health problems as “crazy” and generally have a very negative attitude. There is great fear of mental illness within the society, which could be addressed with greater education and understanding. Most Cambodians perceive mental illness as something that is influenced by bad spirits (khmaoch chaul) rooted in their belief system. Therefore, they often look for traditional healers rather than a scientifically proven intervention or medical treatment.
Full interview here: https://cambodianess.com/article/cambod ... -attention
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Re: Cambodia's Mental Health Problem

Post by CEOCambodiaNews » Tue Sep 08, 2020 9:07 pm

A related topic on (lack of) mental health training; dates from 2016:
In a country racked by an alarming rate of suicide, the primary path for Cambodian psychology majors to help schoolchildren cope with mental health issues has been cut off after the government ceased recruiting them for its teacher-trainer program.

When the new academic year begins next month, the National Institute of Education (NIE) will not be conducting its one-year graduate program for psychology majors, which in years past has prepared graduates to train Cambodia’s secondary school teachers.

“Unluckily for the majors in psychology this year, we do not have it,” Mao Saroeun, an NIE spokesman, said on Friday. “The Ministry of Education thinks we have a sufficient number of psychology teachers.”

The annual event began in 2013 after the university completed a mental health survey that found a staggering rate of suicide in Cambodia—about 42 per 100,000 residents, among the highest in the world.

In 2014, the government hired 30 psychology graduates to be high school counselors, said Bernhild Pfautsch, an adviser in the psychology department at RUPP, but the initiative has not been repeated.

Likewise, there was no indication the teacher training program would resume after this year’s hiatus, Mr. Saroeun said.
post147720.html?hilit=psychology%20students#p147720
Source: https://english.cambodiadaily.com/news/ ... th-119590/
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Re: Cambodia's Mental Health Problem

Post by explorer » Tue Sep 15, 2020 4:52 pm

CEOCambodiaNews wrote:
Thu Jan 24, 2019 11:51 am
“I want to inform the public that mental illness is not terrible or incurable. Mental illness is curable,” he stressed.
To have credibility, people need to be honest. There are a lot of different types of mental illness. The lives of some people can be improved with support and counselling. There are many others who will a have mental illness until they day the die. Look at Down syndrome for example. There are a lot of people in Cambodia with Down syndrome. People with Down syndrome will never be cured.

It is good to do more for people in Cambodia with mental illness. But it is important to be honest.
## I thought I knew all the answers, but they changed all the questions. ##
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Re: Cambodia's Mental Health Problem

Post by John Bingham » Tue Sep 15, 2020 5:03 pm

explorer wrote:
Tue Sep 15, 2020 4:52 pm
Look at Down syndrome for example. There are a lot of people in Cambodia with Down syndrome. People with Down syndrome will never be cured.
About 30% of those with Down's Syndrome do suffer from mental illness but Down's Syndrome is not considered a mental illness, it's a chromosomal disorder.
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Re: Cambodia's Mental Health Problem

Post by Splashback » Tue Sep 15, 2020 5:12 pm

explorer wrote:
Tue Sep 15, 2020 4:52 pm
CEOCambodiaNews wrote:
Thu Jan 24, 2019 11:51 am
“I want to inform the public that mental illness is not terrible or incurable. Mental illness is curable,” he stressed.
To have credibility, people need to be honest. There are a lot of different types of mental illness. The lives of some people can be improved with support and counselling. There are many others who will a have mental illness until they day the die. Look at Down syndrome for example. There are a lot of people in Cambodia with Down syndrome. People with Down syndrome will never be cured.

It is good to do more for people in Cambodia with mental illness. But it is important to be honest.
I've never heard of a genetic disorder like Down syndrome being refered to as a mental illness. But I do think rates of mental illness with people with Down syndrome can be high. But anyway, I agree. In all countries getting on top of mental health is a hard nut to crack. We've all got a long way to go.
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Re: Cambodia's Mental Health Problem

Post by newkidontheblock » Thu Sep 17, 2020 7:55 am

Support and counseling is expensive and require long term monetary commitment. Even western nations struggle with treating mental illness.
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Re: Cambodia's Mental Health Problem

Post by Khmu Nation » Thu Sep 17, 2020 9:06 am

Depression isn't a mental illness. It's an emotional state. Schizophrenia, chronic OCD ain't nothing to fuck with. But feeling blue?
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Re: Cambodia's Mental Health Problem

Post by AzalKH » Thu Sep 17, 2020 12:37 pm

Khmu Nation wrote:
Thu Sep 17, 2020 9:06 am
Depression isn't a mental illness. It's an emotional state. Schizophrenia, chronic OCD ain't nothing to fuck with. But feeling blue?
After having effectively lost five years of my life to major depression and PTSD after I was nearly crushed to death in a work accident, I can assure you it is not a case of "feeling blue". This kind of "harden up" thinking is what often prevents many people actually seeking help. Be glad you've never felt the crushing helplessness of major depression.

As for the topic at hand, I think it's tragic that in a country with so many mental health issues not even 1% of the health budget is spent on it.
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