Vietnam needs to improve mental healthcare resources hinh anh 1A health worker takes care for a patient with mental disorder at the National Psychiatric Hospital.(Source:
Hanoi (VNA) - Vietnam faces several difficulties in mental healthcare due to shortage of medical facilities, and human and financial resources.

Vice-Director of the Health Ministry's Medical Services Administration Tran Quy Tuong said at a consultative workshop on the National Strategy on Mental Health in Hanoi on December 7 that the country's human resources in mental healthcare was weak, both in terms of quality and quantity, with only 650 doctors working in 63 provinces and cities.

Insufficient mental healthcare services and lack of comprehensive legal corridors were also challenges for the development of mental healthcare in Vietnam, Tuong said.

"Building a national strategy on mental health is a very important task for the health sector in efforts to propose long-term targets, key actions and intervention measures for the government, provinces and cities in the coming years," Tuong said at the workshop.

Deputy Representative of UNICEF Vietnam Jesper Moller said the development of the National Strategy on Mental Health would provide a strong and clear framework for the development and implementation of appropriate policies and programmes that protect the rights of children and adults with mental illness.

The strategy should provide solutions for addressing the mental healthcare needs of all population groups, especially children. The mental healthcare service system needs to be comprehensive and moving toward community-based services, he added.

He said there should be more investment to improve human resources for mental healthcare and priority should be given to addressing stigma and discrimination as well as to end violence against children and adults with mental illness.

A survey of the health sector showed that about 15 percent of Vietnam's population, or 13 million people, have mental disorders such as schizophrenia, depression, epilepsy and mental disorders after brain injuries.

Doctor La Duc Cuong from the National Psychiatric Hospital 1 said normal people would have at least one or many symptoms of mental disorder during their life.-VNA