MENTARI is a new approach initiated by the Ministry of Health Malaysia (MOH) to improve outreach and re-integration of people with mental health problems.
MENTARIs' main objectives are:
To provide continuing treatment in an easier and more accessible manner
To provide psycosocial interventions including counselling, psychotherapies, and psychoeducation
To promote screening of mental illness and promote early treatment
To reduce stigma and discrimination
MENTARIs work closely with other MOH service components and attempt to build more linkages with other governmental/ non-governmental agencies and the public.
Summary of relevant work
MENTARIs were initiated as a response to requirements of the new Mental Health Act and Regulations (2010) which advocated for upgrading of community-based services to improve mental health of the population. It's a new approach initiated by the Ministry of Health Malaysia (MOH) to improve outreach and re-integration of people with mental health problems. The official name is 'Community Mental Health Centre': the term MENTARI is an attempt for image-branding i.e. "MENTA" from the word 'mental' and "RI" from 'psikiatri'. There is at least one MENTARI in each state in the country, and they are managed by the Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health in the nearest hospital. The treatment team in MENTARI is led by a psychiatrist; and team members include medical officers, occupational therapists, nurses, and medical social workers. Volunteers provide assistance in non-clinical activities.
The first MENTARI was initiated in 2011 in Putrajaya. In 2014 - mainly due to funding from the government - the number had increased to twenty, with MENTARI Selayang (located approximately 13 km north of Kuala Lumpur) acting as the central coordinating centre. MENTARI's main activities are: Individual Placement and Support Supported Employment (IPS-SE); Assertive Community Treatment; and support groups for patients and their carers.
In 2016-2018, twelve MENTARIs will be involved in the pilot phase of the MENTARI IT System - a clinical IT-based nationwide system which has its own data warehouse. We hope that this will improve work processes and facilitate more research. MENTARI has provided a platform for MOH staff to shift from curative to preventive and recovery-based ones. There is a lot that we need to learn and challenges are aplenty - but we are definitely giving it our best shot and is looking forward to sharing this journey with others.
Ministry of Health Malaysia - Medical Development Division and Mental Health Division