One patient diagnosed with schizophrenia every week

National 1 minute, 57 seconds


ONE new patient is diagnosed with schizophrenia every week in Brunei Darussalam, a healthcare professional said yesterday.

Speaking to The Brunei Times after a movie on the mental health condition at the Institut Teknologi Brunei (ITB), Norazmizah Hj Azmi, occupational therapist at the Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha (RIPAS) Hospital, said that about 11,000 people are now registered under the mental health unit at RIPAS, with the highest number of schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia is a diagnosis given to individuals who have severely disrupted (irrational) beliefs and experiences; they lose touch of reality, have auditory or visual hallucination, and they behave strangely due to their response to delusions or hallucinations, according to statement by the Community Psychology Division at the Ministry of Health (MoH).

Previously, people with mental health disorder were given traditional treatment, Norazmizah said. However, nowadays the interventions are different as more clinics and screenings are in place to improve the physical health of people with mental health disorder, including schizophrenia.

Rina Rahmad, psychologist of the Community Psychology Division, said that there is an increase of 11.5 per cent in mental health cases compared to the previous year.

The number has increased because there has been better awareness from the members of the public who are willing to reach out for help, Rina said.

The top three mental health disorder that have been referred to the psychiatric unit at RIPAS comprises schizophrenia, depression and bipolar disorder (extreme mood disorder). The youngest patient was at 15.

According to Rina, family support is important when it comes to treatment of people suffering from mental disorders.

“We encourage the family to come to RIPAS Hospital or health centres to bring their family members for treatment and we will do the necessary assessment accordingly,” she said.

Another psychologist, Nurhazwana Hj Mohd Zain, said that therapy given to patients with mental health disorders will be based on each individual condition. “We have to know more about the patients first before we can provide treatment to them,” she said, adding that type of treatments include medication and psychological treatments such as cognitive behavioural therapy.

Yesterday’s event was held in conjunction with World Mental Health Day 2014 which embraced the theme — “Living with Schizophrenia”.

The movie featuring schizophrenia was organised by the division to raise awareness and educate the public on schizophrenia and other related mental health matters.

The Brunei Times