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Global survey reveals mental health as top healthcare concern in Malaysia

In a recent Ipsos survey, 41% of Malaysians named mental health as their top healthcare concern.

Azamat Ababakirov, Ipsos’s public affairs senior research manager, underscores the increasing importance of addressing mental health in the healthcare landscape.

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MALAYSIA: The Health Service Monitor 2023, unveiled by Ipsos on Oct 5, reported a global survey involving 23,274 online adults in 31 countries.

The survey revealed that mental health concerns have been acknowledged as the foremost healthcare issue, both on a global scale and specifically in Malaysia.

Spanning from July 21 to August 4, 2023, the survey, which included 500 Malaysian participants, provided valuable insights into significant healthcare trends.

According to the study, mental health is now at the forefront of healthcare concerns, with 41% of respondents in Malaysia identifying it as the most pressing issue.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) follows closely at 31%, with obesity and diabetes at 28%.

Strikingly, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) rank the lowest among health concerns, with only 2% of Malaysians expressing worry.

While cancer and stress are predominant concerns globally, they do not resonate as strongly in Malaysia.

Cancer is a concern for 24% of Malaysians compared to 40% globally, and stress is noted by 21% of Malaysians versus the global average of 30%.

(Photo: IPSOS PRESS RELEASE : STATE OF THE MALAYSIAN HEALTHCARE SYSTEM: HEALTH SERVICE MONITOR 2023)

The study also reveals a noticeable increase in the concern for mental health from 2022 to 2023, particularly among women, with an increase from 31% to 41%.

Ipsos research manager stresses importance of addressing mental health issues

Azamat Ababakirov, Ipsos’s public affairs senior research manager, emphasizes the growing recognition of mental health as a significant healthcare issue.

He underscores the impact on younger generations, particularly Gen Z and millennials, and emphasizes the need for a multi-faceted approach involving employers, communities, and families to address these concerns.

He notes, “Given the magnitude of mental health concerns, it is evident that healthcare systems alone are insufficient to address them.

“Thus, the role and involvement of employers, communities, and families is crucial.”

Additionally, in honor of World Mental Health Day 2023, on Oct 10, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had called on the public to stop the stigma associated with mental health problems.

Wearing a green ribbon pin symbolizing mental health awareness, Anwar urged the public to embrace this cause.

During a session in the Dewan Rakyat, he emphasized, “Mental health belongs to all, stop the stigma.”

This call received widespread support, with several Members of Parliament also donning green ribbons.

In a significant development, Anwar announced on Oct 10 that the government plans to establish a dedicated mental health institute to address the growing concerns related to mental health in Malaysia.

This move reflects the government’s commitment to addressing this pressing issue.

Malaysia’s healthcare system earns high trust and confidence, despite challenges

Malaysia stands out as a country with high confidence in its healthcare system, ranking third globally behind Switzerland and Singapore.

Mr. Ababakirov added, “In Malaysia, there’s a deep-seated respect for healthcare professionals, consistently ranked as the most trusted professionals.

“Trust in the healthcare system extends beyond the professionals, encompassing access to reliable information and the provision of equitable care standards for all,” he said.

Notably, 66% of Malaysians rate their healthcare system as good or very good.

The survey indicates that 68% of respondents trust the healthcare system to provide them with the best treatment and believe healthcare information is widely accessible.

Additionally, 65% believe the healthcare system provides the same standard of care to everyone, but only 61% find it easy to get appointments with local doctors.

Despite the positive aspects, the study highlights some challenges in Malaysia’s healthcare system, including lengthy wait times, staffing shortages, and the high cost of treatment, which need to be addressed to enhance the overall healthcare experience in the country.

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