Bandar Seri Begawan - The Minister of Health, Pehin Orang Kaya Johan Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awg Hj Adanan bin Begawan Pehin Siraja Khatib Dato Seri Setia Awg Hj Mohd Yusof yesterday officially launched the Assisted Living Unit (Rumah Sinar Sejahtera) in conjunction with World Mental Health Day 2012, which carries the theme "Depression: A Global Crisis".
Located at Bungalow 14, Spg 258-78 in Kg Kiarong, the unit is one of the first new initiatives of its kind established in the country, as the Department of Psychiatry at the Ministry of Health strives to improve mental health care by providing a wide range of services at hospitals; by working in partnership with primary healthcare services and community agencies; and by engaging patients and their families in order to provide holistic and continuous good-quality care.
In her welcoming speech, Dr Hilda Ho Ming Choo, Psychiatry Consultant (Consultant Grade II) at the Department of Psychiatry, RIPAS Hospital noted that the Department of Psychiatry remains committed to enhancing community awareness on the importance of mental health in the country.
She said the service not only comprises treatment at hospital wards and specialist clinics, but also provides community mental health team services for adults, children and youths, rehabilitation and daily treatment units.
The Assisted Living Unit provides the much-needed services for patients who require a long-term rehabilitation living space before they can stay alone. Some patients require supervision, others long-term supervision, Dr Ho added.
In the past, she explained, some patients were permanently at mental institutions and wards for years without having the chance to own a home. Furthermore, one of the best ways to heal patients who have long suffered mental sickness is by giving them the opportunity to stand on their own two feet. However, they still require help and monitoring to achieve that goal.
The Assisted Living Unit concept is an alternative for patients who have stayed in hospitals for years. Most of the patients are without a family who can care for them.
"We hope after a certain period of rehabilitation, some residents from the Assisted Living Unit can move towards their future life," she said.
The day also saw the minister launching an exhibition before viewing the artwork created by patients under the Art Therapy Programme called 'Creative Minds'.
"This is one of several projects launched by the Occupational Therapists in our service," Dr Ho said, adding that treatment provided for those in the rehabilitation process consists of not only medicine, but also activities that can help patients in the healing process.
The activities include learning everyday tasks such as self-hygiene and housework, those involved in basic learning process, seeking jobs, exercising and creative activities such as singing, playing musical instruments and drawing.
The once-weekly drawing session serves as an effective communication medium among patients. It allows them the opportunity to share their life stories.
It is meanwhile hoped that the public will appreciate the art exhibition and throw their support behind these creative individuals.
The Minister of Health later presented certificates to participants of the art exhibition.
Among those present were the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Health, Hj Awg Saifulbahri bin Hj Awg Mansor; Deputy Permanent Secretary (Professional & Technical) Dr Hjh Norlila binti Dato Paduka Hj Abdul Jalil; Acting Deputy Secretary (Administration & Finance) Dr Hjh Rahmah; Acting Chief Director of Health Services Pg Dr Hj Md Khalifah; and other officers from the Ministry of Health.
--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin