Mental health concepts and program development in Malaysia

Amber Haque

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


Mental health in Malaysia has not received the kind of attention it deserves. This is true for most developing countries and results from various reasons including a lack of knowledge or misunderstanding about what mental health really is, adherence to the traditional cultural belief systems and practices, and priorities of the government. Malaysia has come a long way since independence in regards to the mental health program development and service delivery. This paper explores the concepts of mental health within the different Malaysian ethnic/religious groups, traces a brief history of the development of mental health services within the country, covers the highlights of the Mental Health Act (2001) and assesses the overall progress in the area based on the 1974 recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO) for developing countries. A brief section covers recommendations based on the current state of affairs in the country.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-195
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Mental Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Cultural beliefs in Malaysia
  • Indigenous psychology
  • Malaysian Mental Health Act
  • Mental health
  • Mental health program development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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