Screening for children with mental health issues

These are amazing times. With just one question and a few tweets we now have a massive opportunity to open up the discussion on screening by teachers for mental health issues in particular conditions where early detection can make a huge difference in the quality of life of our children – ADHD and autism for example.

Now we must be mindful that even with the part played by our respected teachers to detect and refer we still have a long way to. It’s not so easy folks.

Why? Well consider this;

1. You detect and refer but parents refuse to bring the child to see us in psychiatry.

2. Child is brought to psychiatry but we don’t have as many skilled people ready to cater to the load that comes forward. In our centre it’s a year long wait for a new case to be seen due to the loss of one child psychiatrist.

3. Your child is assessed and a plan is made. However, the centre does not have the supporting allied health providers (get to know who they are in our October campaign). These people include trainee psychologist, occupational therapist etc

4. You decide to go “outside” because you cannot wait. The price for private care is high due to scarcity of the aforementioned people involved.

5. Ongoing stigma in mental illness.

6. Insurance still does NOT cover for people with mental illness.

7. We want to train a child psychiatrist to cater for the possible load. We don’t have enough training funds to do so.

I think that’s quite a list already.

Therefore although I’m very optimistic and believe this is the first step we need to ensure that both upstream and downstream issues are sorted and sorted out fast.

Once we’ve sorted the children let’s then look at the elderly. Did you know by 2030 15% of Malaysians will be >65. Are we ready?

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