How many of us would meet the eyes of the mentally disturbed? For some, they would avert from looking at the direction of the mentally disturbed person. Some would pretend not to hear and simply walk away without even looking from the corner of their eyes for the plea or attention sought.
How aware are we, the general public, on this type of illness or disoder? Usually nil until a friend or a family member is a victim of one then only people would open up their eyes. Mentally illness is usually a social stigma, no one cares for the victim and the community would shun such victims.
Mental illness is a lonely journey. Did you know that mental illness is not contagious? You wont get infected with it. How many of us would dare look at one, or even hold their hands and look straight into their eyes?
Sadly, the trend of the mentally-ill is rising in the Asia-Pacific region as noted by the World Health Organization, WHO. According to a WHO report, mental and neurological disorders in 2002 accounted for 17.6 per cent of the total disease burden in the WHO’s Western Pacific region, with depression alone responsible for more than six per cent. There were about 331,000 suicides in the region that year, the latest for which full data is available.
Worldwide, suicide accounts for 33 per cent of all violent deaths among men and 57 per cent among women, the WHO has said. “They (mental and neurological disorders) create a major and unnecessary burden for individuals, communities and societies,” the WHO’s regional committee for the Western Pacific said in the report.
In Brunei, the country is yet to establish a mental hospital. We do not have a rehab centre or an asylum for such victims and patients are treated at the public hospital. From 2004 until 2007, there has been a remarkable increase of 62 per cent in patients in Brunei Darussalam diagnosed with mental illnesses, according to the Ministry of Health.
Statistics released by the Psychiatry Department of the Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha Hospital (Ripas) have shown that the number of outpatients diagnosed with mental illnesses in 2006 had risen alarmingly to 6,335 cases as against 3,889 in 2002.
The report said that it is also noteworthy that the Psychiatry Department for children and teenager have recorded 350 cases of young people suffering from mental illnesses such as depression, emotional and behavioral problems since its establishment in 2005.
I remember when I was small, the famous hospital’s ward for the mentally-disturbed was known as ‘Wad Lima’ or ward 5, now renamed ‘Psychiatry department’. Now every time I passed the ward, I would quickly run away as fast as I could as I was really scared with the occupants. I would blame such reactions from our own society who taught us when we were small to run away every time we come across a ‘mad man’ or ‘orang gila’. I hope here is no such stigma now as we understand more on the illness. The role of the society is equally crucial in curbing such stigma.
Did you know that in Brunei, those suffering from psychological problems (aged 15 years and above) may receive $200 each month while his/her spouse will receive another $150? Their dependents (children) will receive $150 for those aged 15 years and above and $90 for those aged 15 years and below.
Now to relax our minds…Forwarded emails just keep on circulating. This morning the following came in to my Inbox which prompted me to blog about the subject. Additional note: the texts below are meant to be humourous and is no way intended to prejudice certain groups mentioned below. Thank you.
MENTAL HOSPITAL PHONE MENU
Hello and thank you for calling The State Mental Hospital. Please select from the following options menu:
If you are obsessive-compulsive, press 1 repeatedly.
If you are co-dependent, please ask someone to press 2 for you.
If you have multiple personalities, press 3, 4, 5 and 6.
If you are paranoid, we know who you are and what you want, stay on the line so we can trace your call.
If you are delusional, press 7 and your call will be forwarded to the Mother Ship.
If you are schizophrenic, listen carefully and a little voice will tell You which number to press.
If you are manic-depressive, hang up. It doesn’t matter which number you press, nothing will make you happy anyway.
If you are dyslexic, press 9-6-9-6.
If you are bipolar, please leave a message after the beep or before the beep or after the beep. But Please wait for the beep.
If you have short-term memory loss, press 9. If you have short-term memory loss, press 9. If you have short-term memory loss, press 9.
If you have low self-esteem, please hang up. Our operators are too busy to talk with you.
If you are menopausal, put the gun down, hang up, turn on the fan, lie down and cry.
You won’t be crazy forever.
If you are blonde, don’t press any buttons. You’ll just mess it up.