Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Gov’t aims to fill gap in mental health services

Gov’t aims to fill gap in mental health services

Health Ministry officials hold a meeting yesterday in Phnom Penh to discuss the lack of mental health treatment in Cambodia. Photo supplied
Health Ministry officials hold a meeting yesterday in Phnom Penh to discuss the lack of mental health treatment in Cambodia. Photo supplied

Gov’t aims to fill gap in mental health services

Not all Cambodians suffering from depression are seeking services due to lingering stigma and the persistent scarcity of mental health services in the Kingdom, officials and experts said yesterday.

Dr Chhit Sophal, director of the Ministry of Health’s department of mental health and substance abuse, said during a press conference that people suffering from depression “don’t dare” talk about it.

“The ministry has a difficult time controlling [depression] because most of [the people] don’t understand what depression is,” he said.

The press conference was part of several activities leading up to Friday’s World Health Day, the theme of which this year is depression.

Dr Yel Daravuth, with World Health Organization (WHO) Cambodia, said that based on numbers from a recent WHO global report, there could be as many as 4 people out of every 100 suffering from depression in the Kingdom.
However, to get an accurate number, Cambodia would need a national survey.

“[Given] the history of the country, we believe that the number with depression might be higher than what was determined by the global data,” he said, alluding to the country’s years of brutal Khmer Rouge rule and civil war.

However, only about 9.3 percent of the country’s health centres offer mental health services. Some 60 percent of the national and referral hospitals provide such treatment.

The government that 50 percent of health care centres offer the services by 2020.

Additional reporting by Yesenia Amaro

Read more: Chained up, out of sight: Desperate families often keep mentally ill relatives in squalid conditions

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Education’ a priority traffic-law penalty

    A top National Police official on June 21 neither rejected nor confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audio message, which has gone viral on social media, on a waiver of fines for a number of road traffic-related offences. General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief in

  • Pursat Ford assembly plant opens

    The Kingdom’s first Ford assembly plant was inaugurated on June 16 in Pursat province amid rising demand for brand-new vehicles among Cambodians. The facility is seen as a game changer for the domestic automobile industry, which could bring a wave of investors seeking to cash

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • Siem Reap’s $18M zoo said to educate public, help wildlife

    Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium Co Ltd has invested $18 million in a zoo in Siem Reap province, which will be opened in October to educate and promote animal conservation as well as attract national and international tourists. Currently, the Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium is building the

  • Angkor photo rules clarified

    The Apsara National Authority (ANA) denied that it had banned the use of camera tripods in the Angkor Archaeological Park, explaining that the confusion stemmed from a long-standing rule which required commercial photographers and videographers to apply for permission to film. The explanation followed a

  • $50B infrastructure plan en route

    The government’s upcoming $50 billion,10-year infrastructure master plan will provide tremendous investment opportunities for domestic and foreign entities, transport experts and economists say. Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol revealed the plan to Japanese ambassador to Cambodia Masahiro Mikami on June 15. At