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A study of psychiatric patients at the University of Malaya Medical Centre who also consult indigenous healers

Summary

Malaysia is a developing country with a new psychiatric service and the brunt of mental health care is still borne by the indigenous healers of the three main cultures. Nearly half of the patients seen at the psychiatric unit of the University of Malaya Medical Centre have also consulted such healers. Such patients are more likely to come from a nuclear family, be non-English speaking and suffer from a psychosis. Among the three ethnic groups, Malay patients are more likely to consult such healers but the Indians are more likely to go to healers of other ethnic origins. This study shows that two thirds of patients will return to healers after seeing a psychiatrist for the first time. Psychiatry in Malaysia is therefore not the end point in management in mental disorders but only one of many options.

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Additional information

Final year elective spent in the Department of Psychological Medicine, University of Malaya, Malaysia. August/September, 1974.

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Kolman, P.B.R. A study of psychiatric patients at the University of Malaya Medical Centre who also consult indigenous healers. Soc Psychiatry 11, 127–134 (1976). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00579311

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Keywords

  • Public Health
  • Health Care
  • Mental Health
  • Ethnic Group
  • Mental Disorder