Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Mental disabilities on agenda

Mental disabilities on agenda

Mental disabilities on agenda

Often belittled as the “crazy” or “stupid,” the mentally disabled in Cambodia face greater and more unique challenges than those with physical disabilities and are thus in need of more focused support, rights workers said yesterday.

Speaking at the opening of a three-day conference about the mentally disabled, Kong Vichetra, executive director of the disability-rights organisation Ko­-mar Pikar Foundation, said that those with mental disabilities were “discriminated” and “marginalized”, and not properly supported by most organisations working in the disability arena.

“There aren’t many centres or organizations to help people with mental disabilities, that’s why we want NGOs, the government and relevant institutions to help support them.”

Because of the lack of service in the Kingdom, representatives of organisations from Japan, Thailand and Malaysia attending the conference called for the creation of a national support group to deal specifically with  mentally disabled people.

The group would provide services to families of individuals with mental disabilities, raise awareness and lobby for legislation to protect and promote people with disabilities.

Minister of Social Affairs Ith Sam Heng stressed the equal im­portance of education.

“We must educate pregnant women to improve the health of their babies by not drinking alcohol during the pregnancy as it can have serious effects on the babies’ mental health,” he said.

The social affairs minister estimated that roughly two percent of the population had some form of disability. It was difficult to determine the exact breakdown between physical and mental disabilities because the definitions were still unclear, Kong Vichetra added.

Yesterday’s conference comes amid a small flurry of activity surrounding disability rights legislation. In June, Prime Minister Hun Sen signed a sub-decree to create the first disability pension. Under the decree, which lacks an implementation timetable, seriously disabled, elderly disabled and seriously injured people living be­­low the poverty line and without full-time employment would be entitled to 20,000 riel (US$5) per month. 


  • Man arrested for fake PM endorsement

    The owner of currency exchange company GCG Asia Co Ltd was temporarily detained by the court yesterday for attempted fraud after Prime Minister Hun Sen reacted to the company using his name and pictures to allege his endorsement of the firm. Phnom Penh Municipal Court

  • Sihanoukville authority orders structure dismantled

    The Preah Sihanouk provincial administration has ordered owners of two unauthorised construction sites to immediately dismantle them and warned of legal action if the owners failed to comply. Ly Chet Niyom, development management and construction bureau chief at the provincial hall, told The Post on

  • Police seek arrest of Chinese ‘gang’

    Cambodian police remain on the lookout for 20 Chinese nationals who earlier this month posted a video clip threatening to stoke insecurity in Preah Sihanouk province, though the Chinese Embassy in Phnom Penh maintained the group posed no threats to Cambodia’s national security. National Police

  • Rapper deletes song critical of Cambodian social issues

    A young musician has deleted from Facebook and YouTube a rap song that was critical of Cambodia’s social issues and announced that he will stop singing the song after officials visited his home in Siem Reap province and allegedly gave him a warning. Provincial