Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Mental health services key for drug users: study

Mental health services key for drug users: study

Mental health patients sit in a waiting room before their appointment to see a doctor at a hospital in Phnom Penh in 2007. AFP
Mental health patients sit in a waiting room before their appointment to see a doctor at a hospital in Phnom Penh in 2007. AFP

Mental health services key for drug users: study

A new report has called for greater mental health provisions to be made for Cambodia’s drug users, though it conceded that the human and financial resources to implement its proposals will likely be lacking.

Published last month in the International Journal of Drug Policy, the report is the product of interviews with 169 drug users in Phnom Penh. Researchers found that 15.3 per cent had attempted suicide and 42 per cent suffered what the report termed high levels of psychological distress.

Researchers concluded that, in an ideal world, drug users would be screened for mental health issues and referred to specialists for treatment.

However, they went on to acknowledge that, as with other low- and middle-income countries, Cambodia’s mental health services are already stretched beyond capacity. A 2014 survey by the World Health Organization and the Ministry of Health found Cambodia had only 41 registered psychiatrists.

The compromise the researchers propose is for health providers working in existing HIV and harm-reduction programs to be trained in mental health screening and prevention.

David Harding, who has spent more than a decade working with Cambodian drug users, said yesterday that mental health provisions should be a feature of any program tackling drug-related issues, although he was not aware of any such initiatives in the Kingdom.

Representatives of the Health Ministry and the National Authority for Combating Drugs were not reachable.

MOST VIEWED

  • Massive stingrays may live in Mekong’s deep pools

    US scientists have suggested that unexplored deep pools in the Mekong River in an area of Stung Treng could potentially be home to significant populations of giant freshwater stingrays, one of the world’s largest freshwater fish species. This comes as a fisherman hooked a 180

  • CCC team off on US business trip

    The Kingdom’s leading economists and private sector representatives have called on the US to renew its tax preferential status for Cambodian exports, as a Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) delegation departed for a weeklong business visit to the US, where they will meet with

  • PM takes time to meet, greet Cambodians living in the US

    After landing in the US ahead of the ASEAN-US Special Summit, Prime Minister Hun Sen was received by over 1,000 Cambodian-Americans including political analysts who welcomed him with greetings, fist bumps and selfies. Hun Sen also met with analyst Mak Hoeun, who had allegedly spoken ill

  • Khmer cinema classics back on big screen for free at WB Arena’s outdoor movies series

    On a recent Saturday evening at WB Arena, Bunsong was enjoying a tasty BBQ meal with his family after work on the long tables that had been arranged out in front of the restaurant as they watched a Khmer action movie on a big outdoor

  • PM heads to Washington for ASEAN-US special summit

    Regional and international issues and how to bring the ASEAN-US partnership to another level will be discussed at length as Prime Minister Hun Sen and his ministers arrive in Washington, DC, for a special summit on May 12-13. During the trip, Hun Sen and ASEAN

  • National Assembly refutes EU resolution

    The National Assembly (NA) has hit back at a European Parliament resolution condemning the political and human rights situation in Cambodia, calling it another display of the Parliament’s “double standards”. Key points of the resolution include a warning that the Parliament could exclude the