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Q: Prevalence of Depression in Malaysia ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: Prevalence of Depression in Malaysia
Category: Health > Conditions and Diseases
Asked by: wooner-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 10 Jun 2003 19:59 PDT
Expires: 10 Jul 2003 19:59 PDT
Question ID: 215872
What is the prevalence of clinical depression in Malaysia

If possible, can you help identify or access the published or
unpublished studies on depression in that. Ideally, I'd like info on:
the name and the year of the study  
the place of the study (name of the region, urban or rural)  
the number of sample  
the characteristics of the sample, eg. age, sex, health condition, 
the sampling method (random non-random sampling, etc)  
the diagnostics: depressive disorder, major depression or depression 
in general 
the prevalence rate (overall, by age groups, by sex or by urban/ 
Subject: Re: Prevalence of Depression in Malaysia
Answered By: umiat-ga on 11 Jun 2003 12:02 PDT
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
Hello, wooner-ga!

 As mental illness if a topic close to my heart, I worked hard to find
any informtion I could for you on this subject. As I said in my
clarification to the Vietnamese question, statistics are hard to come
by. However, Malaysia has far more information than Vietnam, which has
virtually zero information on mental illness "within" the country.

 Hopefully, you can work with the information I have uncovered. I know
it is not ideal, but it is the most I could find after numerous hours
of research!



From "Consensus Statement." Malyasian Psychiatiric Association.

"In Malaysia a rural survey on psychiatric illness showed that
depressive disorders were the commonest psychiatric illness identified
with a point prevalence rate of 3.6%. Local studies of specific
population groups such as general outpatient, medical outpatient, post
partum women and drug dependants has shown that prevalence of
depression is much higher."

(There is no title, reference or link to the survey)


Some reference is made to the above quoted study may be in the
following article:

"Health: Not insured against mental illness," By Manveet Kaur. News
Straits Times (October 29, 2002)

"According to Associate Professor T. Maniam, consultant psychiatrist
and a member of the Malaysian Psychiatric Association, many patients
have been refused insurance coverage if they have suffered from
anxiety, depression, mental or nervous disorders or taken medication
in the last few years."

"In Malaysia, two methodologically sound surveys on the prevalence of
mental illness have confirmed that it is common. One was done in a
rural area in Tanjung Karang by psychiatrists from the Medical
Faculty, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. It showed that 10 per cent of
the population has some form of mental disorder."

"The other study was the National Health & Morbidity Survey 1996
conducted by the Ministry of Health which indicated almost 11 per cent
of the population has some form of mental disorder."

"Women are more affected than men, and (often) come from the lower
income group. This is probably an underestimate as studies from other
parts of the world suggest a prevalence of 15-20 per cent."



ISSUE)" by Saroja Krishnaswamy, FRCPsych, Department of Psychiatry,
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur.

"The prevalence of psychiatric disorders in those above 65 is reported
as 5% with dementia, 13% with depression (4% major depression) and 12%
with anxiety states (7% phobic)."

(Note - in this paper, the paragraph on Depression suddenly starts
quoting statistics from the United Kingdom, whereas everything else
relates to Malaysia. Is this an error?)



"Incidence of Postnatal depression in Malaysian Women." "Kit Lk. Grace
J. & Jegasothy (1997)J. Obstet. Gynaecol.Vol.23, No. 1 85-89.


Objective: To determine the incidence of postnatal depression of
Malaysian women at 6 weeks postpartum and a survey of their
socio-cultural practices.


"154 women who were 6 weeks postpartum attending a postnatal clinic
between May and July 1995 at Maternal and Child Health
Clinic,Seremban, Malaysia. Maternal socio-demography, depression by
EPDS, postnatal care andpractices e.g. pantang larang (prohibited
behaviour and practices), diet and partnering were evaluated.


Postnatal depression was 3.9%. Indians had the highest rate at 8.5% as
compared to Malays (3.0%) and none in Chinese (p<0.05). There were no
demographic differences in the study groups. Average score of EPDS was
4.05 which ranged from 0-20. During the confinement 85.7% of women
took special diet; 64.3% followed pantang larang and 78.8% had someone
to look after them.The incidence of PND is low in Malaysia at 3.9%.
Majority of women still observed the traditional postnatal practices
and beliefs.


The incidence of PND is low in Malaysian at 3.9% as expected in this
part ofthe world. Indians had a higher incidence of PND at 8.5% as
compared to Malaysians and Chinese. The majority of Malaysian women
still observed the traditional postnatal beliefs and practices:
following the pantang larang; took special diets and had special
partners or someone to take care of them during the confinement.A
further study on a bigger scale involving a larger sample should be
undertaken to validate the above findings, in particular the higher
incidence involving Indians and the possible causative or contributing
factors to such a differing finding."


2002 AT 8.30 AM.

"In Malaysia, death by suicide is generally despised by our
conservative society, and is considered a crime under our Malaysian
Penal Code. Moreover, beneficiaries of people dying from suicide face
problems making life insurance claims. In such a scenario, suicides
are likely to be under-reported, with some being categorized as
accidental or undetermined deaths, especially where the deaths are not
medically inspected and certified. Nevertheless, it has been estimated
that the suicide rate in Malaysia is around 3 per 100,000 population."

"In this study, the predominant method of suicide amongst the Chinese
was by hanging (43%); amongst the Indians, by poisoning (73%); and the
Malays, by jumping from heights (56%). Overall, poisoning was the most
frequently chosen method (38%), followed by hanging (33%) and jumping
from heights (22%). There were 2 deaths by drowning, and one each by
self-burning and gunshot. The males seemed to prefer death by hanging,
followed by poisoning; whilst the females chose poisoning, followed by
jumping from heights."

** In this study, at least two-thirds of the suicides had documented
histories of psychiatric illness or histories suggestive of

"Although the suicide rate in Malaysia is relatively low compared to
other countries, it is likely that this low trend may not continue for
long, as our society is undergoing rapid social changes. The extended
family system has undergone gradual disintegration and more women are
now entering the workforce. Children are also subjected to much
greater stress in school these days."

"In line with modern thinking, we have decentralized our psychiatric
services so that they are more readily accessible to the people. By
the end of last year, we have 28 hospitals, comprising 4 special
mental institutions, 14 state hospitals and 10 district hospitals,
providing psychiatric services. We have a staff strength that includes
74 psychiatrists (two of whom are psychogeriatricians) and 11
counselors with degrees in counseling or psychology. These people are
in a good position to render help to those who need them, including
those with depression and suicidal tendencies. We have also set aside
RM10 million for the purchase of newer generation psychiatric drugs
this year and the next, so that these patients may have access to
better quality drugs.

"To complement our hospital psychiatric services, we have introduced
the Community Mental Health Programme in 1997 to bring mental health
care closer to the community. To date, 572 or 68% of all the health
clinics in the country are staffed and equipped to provide such care
to the community. About 10,000 patients have since benefited from such
services close to home."

"With the passing of the new Mental Health Act by Parliament in August
2001, the procedures for admission, care, treatment, rehabilitation,
control and protection of our psychiatric patients in government
hospitals are now much improved. The private sector is also now in a
better position to participate fully in the care of the mentally ill.
I understand that there are now at least 20 psychiatrists practicing
in the private sector, besides the 36 psychiatrists practicing in the
universities and the 74 in the Ministry of Health, making a total of
130 in the country. All of them, many of whom are in the audience
today, are in a position to contribute to the mental health of our
society, including caring for those who are mentally distressed and

Spending on Mental Health in Malaysia

"Mental health problems are dramatically increasing. However, the
majority ofgovernments in the Western Pacific Region spend less than 1
% on mental healthwithin their national health budgets."

"Australia and Malaysia are the only two countries in the Region
spending between 5 % and 10 % of their health budget on mental

"In Malaysia, there are 63 psychiatrists for a population of 22

From "Snapshots of Mental Health in the Western Pacific Region."

Additional Reading:

"Stress, Resources and Life Satisfaction Among Older Adults in
Malaysia," by Ong Fon Sim. Faculty of Bisiness and Accountancy,
University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

The study involved 645 respondents.


"Community Mental Health in Malaysia: Marriage of Psychiatry and
Public Health," by Jamaiyah H. Buletin Kesihatan Masyarakat Isu Khas


Malaysian Mental Health Association (MMHA)
No 9, Lorong 3/57B, Off Jalan Sentosa,
46000 Petaling Jaya,
Selangor Darul Ehsan.
Tel: (03) 7782 5499

Please see contacts for Malaysia: 
International Mental Health Leadership Program website:


(No statistics - just a general overview of what the Mental Health
community is trying to
accomplish in the country)

See Ministry of Health - Malaysia "Healthy Lifestyles Campaign 2000:

The Healthy Lifestyle Campaign of the Ministry of Health was launched
in 1991.  The first phase of the campaign (1991 - 1996) covered 6
major themes, namely, Cardiovascular Diseases (1991), AIDS (1992),
Food Hygiene (1993), Promotion of Child Health (1994), Cancer (1995)
and Diabetes (1996).

Promotion of Mental Health 2000 is the fourth theme of the second
phase (1997 - 2002) of the Healthy Lifestyle Campaign. The previous
themes were Healthy Eating (1997), Promotion of Exercise and Physical
Activity (1998) and Promotion of Safety and and Injury Prevention
(1999). The 2 subsequent themes will be Promotion of Healthy Family
(2001) and Promotion of Environmental Health (2002).

The combined efforts of the National Working Group on Promotion of
Mental Health, Healthy Lifestyle Campaign (2000), Ministry of Health
with the assistance of staff from the National, State and District
level of the Ministry of Health, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and
Universiti Malaya have come out with this Manual of Prime and
Supportive Messages on Mental Health


 Again, I do hope this information is of some help to you. I know I
have included several references that have nothing to do with
Depression, per se, but I thought they might give a general overview
of the current mental health response situation in Malaysia.

 If any of the links fail to work, or you misundertand something I
have referenced, please ask for clarification before choosing to rate
my answer. I will try to help as best I can.


Google Search Strategy
+Mental health in +malaysia
Malaysia AND depression
incidence of +depression in +Malaysia
+depression +statistics +Malaysia
wooner-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $5.00
Great effort

Subject: Re: Prevalence of Depression in Malaysia
From: umiat-ga on 11 Jun 2003 22:41 PDT
 Thank you for your extremem generosity!

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