KEPALA BATAS: The Health Ministry has found that one out of every 100 Malaysians suffers from schizophrenia, said Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya.
The Deputy Health Minister said this was worrying as a person with the mental illness could hurt himself and others.
"More Malaysians are suffering from schizophrenia but they and the people around them do not view the problem seriously and refuse to get appropriate treatment.
"The problem should not be viewed lightly because if left untreated, they (schizophrenics) can injure others. This is very dangerous," he told reporters after opening the Kem I Want Sihat (I Want Health Camp) function, in conjunction with the 2014 World Mental Health Day here, Sunday.
Schizophrenia is a mental illness whose sufferers experience emotional, thought and behavioural disturbances, causing them to behave as if they are in their own world.
Meanwhile, he said the Ministry wanted to to increase the number of psychiatrists from the 300 currently to 900 over the next few years to meet the people's needs.
He said 50 scholarships were given to doctors keen to become psychiatric specialists each year by the Ministry.
"Currently, the ratio in Malaysia is one psychiatrist to 150,000 people.
"We should have a ratio of 1:50,000 according to international standards," he added. - Bernama