10th-12th February 2009 (Makassar, Indonesia): The seminar on Mental Health took place in the Universitas Hassanuddin of Makassar, South Sulawesi, Indonesia (UNHAS). The conference, jointly organized by Universitas Hassanuddin and Universiti Malaysia Sabah, was hosted by the Faculty of Medicine of UNHAS. This seminar was a follow up of another seminar on mental health that took place in Universiti Malaysia Sabah in 2007. Over the years, experts, scholars and professionals from both universities attended this event. The participants came from diverse ethnic, geographic and institutional backgrounds from Makassar and its proximity and the remaining participants were graduate students of the Faculty of Medicine, UNHAS.
At the joint seminar on Mental Health, I presented a paper on Peer Influence on Juvenile delinquency and Juvenile mental health issues in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. The paper was based on my research findings . Briefly I found that at least one out of every five youth in the juvenile justice system has serious mental health problems. Many of these youth also have co-occurring substance abuse disorders, further exacerbating the problem. The ability of the juvenile justice system to deal with these problems is hindered by confusion about which agencies should provide care and services, inadequate screening and assessment, lack of training, inadequate funding and programs and the overall lack of research.
The speakers were excellent. They seemed incredibly qualified and their talks were interesting. The seminar showcased the research of twelve distinguished papers from a broad range of fields. Talks included Dr Wendy Diana Shoesmith from the University of Sabah’s School of Medicine presenting her work in Mental Health Care in Sabah , UNHAS’ Professor Ilmi describing her work on Psychological cost of illegal immigrant workers in Malaysia, Dr. H. Rachmat Latief is a leading expert on Human Resource issues of Mental Health and is the Chief of Department of Health South Sulawesi Province, Dr Daw Khin Saw Naing from the School of Medicine, Univerisiti Malaysia Sabah presented her paper on mental disorders in rural area of Sabah to name a few. The seminar also provided poster presentation showcases of presenters’ research to allow viewers to study and restudy the information and discuss it with the respective researchers.
The mental health seminar was particularly useful because I was exposed to an area of mental health issues I didn’t quite know about. I thought it was great that while there was a focus on mental health issues, there was still discussion about other options. I now have an increased comprehension of the mental health issues and an improved awareness of what the real issues of mental health are in general. This seminar was a great experience and it helped me to meet other scholars, practitioners, clinicians, policy specialists, healthcare providers, and members of the scientific community and the healthcare industry academics and researchers as well as network and establish contacts who could be future collaborators. The best aspects of the seminar were discussion of mental health issues regarding delinquency, substance abuse, and youth suicide. I had the opportunity to learn more about the continued development of routine outcome measurement in mental health services and strategies for sustainability into the future. This seminar really helped to ‘re-motivate’ me about the idea of being a researcher in issues related with juvenile delinquency and mental health and I feel more motivated to continue my research in youth and mental health with confidence. The seminar was very valuable to me as an academician who isn’t typically exposed to all of this information on mental issues. I also had the opportunity to continue exchanging experiences and develop plans together with mental health researcher and members of the scientific community.
The Mental Health seminar has been convened to provide an opportunity to share the results of the introduction of routine outcome measurement within mental health services. The seminar provides an opportunity to showcase the work of services in the continued development of outcomes information systems and the use of information collected during routine clinical practice to support quality improvement and service development activities. The inaugural seminar highlighted the use of outcome measures to support engagement, assessment, dialogue and care planning activities, the management and planning of mental health services, and quality improvement activities. I had opportunity to learn more about the continued development of routine outcome measurement in mental health services and strategies for sustainability into the future.
The seminar on Mental Health was a success because it was excellently organized seminar and able to meet a high level of hospitality and a high level of intellectual discussion on issues concerning mental health. The closing ceremony ended with a speech by the host, the Vice Rector 1 of UNHAS who noted that the seminar was held amid growing international interest in the mental health issues. He thanked all the attendees for their participation and support.