Friday, August 12

‘People still dump mental patients at Hospital Sentosa’


KUCHING: Hospital Sentosa still continues to be a “dumping ground” for some mental patients.

Without stating any statistics, the director, Dr Lau Kim Kah, yesterday revealed that some patients had remained at the hospital for a very long time even after their recovery.

He said that this happened because some of the patients simply could not find any place to go after their discharge.

No one wanted them back in society, including their own families.

“It is a sad thing but we cannot totally blame the relatives for not accepting them back.

“We can understand how difficult it is for a family to look after a relative who has suffered from mental disorders.

“It is not easy, especially for those having very little knowledge about mental illness,” said Dr Lau.

He said more often than not most people would think that all mental patients were aggressive, violent and dangerous, which were not necessarily true.

He stated that it was for such reasons that those suffering from mental illnesses were being discriminated against and rejected by society, including their own families, policy makers and business communities.

He pointed out that the hospital and the Mental Health Association of Sarawak (MHAS) had been trying their very best to educate the public on psychiatric disorders but until today they were still far from the desired results.

According to Dr Lau, to effectively manage mental health cases in a more holistic manner required the community to play a bigger role and to do that they needed to have better understanding and knowledge about the illness.

He said those interested to learn more about mental health were welcomed to visit the Mental Health Exhibition to be organised by MHAS Kuching Branch on the ground floor of Boulevard Hypermarket this Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 9pm.

“There you can ask anything about mental illness, its symptoms and how they can be overcome. I should say that this is a golden opportunity that people should not miss.

“You can also go for mental health screening tests. Whether we are aware of it or not, many of us may also suffer from different kind of mental illnesses so there is nothing to worry about,” he pointed out.

Dr Lau, who is also MHAS chairman, stressed that it would be better if people could detect their illnesses early because for any health problems prevention was always better than cure.

Also present at the news conference yesterday were the exhibition organising chairman and consultant psychiatrist Dr Gan Chee Kuan together with other MHAS executive committee members.