KUCHING: Mental illness is at an alarming rate in Sarawak, with 16,216 patients recorded last year.
Sentosa Hospital director Dr Rosliwati Mohd Yusop said the hospital registered a total of 954 mental patients with 338 currently being treated.
"New cases showed an increase of 441 patients last year compared to 346 patients in 2018," she told reporters at the 6th Sarawak Mental Health Conference at the Sentosa Hospital here today.
She said those at risk of mental illness were in their 30s and 50s.
"However, the mental illness trend also has a significant impact on adolescents due to the use of drugs that can damage the brain.
"The stigma that mental illness cannot be treated has to change because it can be treated through early treatment,” Dr Rosliwati said.
There were many factors, she said, that could lead to mental health issues including environmental factors, workload, work situation, stress and friends.
"Many only seek help when their mental illness is in the final stage, which makes it difficult to treat.”
On the upcoming 6th Sarawak Mental Health Conference scheduled to be held from April 1 to 3, Dr Rosliwati expects up to 300 participants comprising physicians, psychiatrists, counsellors and medical professionals.
The conference will focus on patients’ wellbeing.