15 Oct 2012

Study to determine appropriate mental health services for Samoa

4:36 pm on 15 October 2012

A study that will look into the prevalence of mental illness in Samoa is intended to help establish what type of mental health care is best suited for Samoa.

The study is the first of its kind in the Pacific and is being spearheaded by Samoa's Ministry of Health.

A Psychiatrist with Faleola Mental Health Services in Auckland, Leota Dr Lisi Petaia, is also involved in the study.

She says the 2009 tsunami highlighted the need to understand the nature of mental health and mental illness within the Samoan context.

Leota says mental health provisions for Samoa cannot be based on studies done elsewhere.

"The survey that we're planning to do which we're hoping to kickstart at the end of the year will hopefully provide data to help establish the appropriate level of mental health services, it will help design what type of mental health services that is best suited for Samoa and it will also provide a base line for further studies in the future as Samoa continue to develop."

Leota Dr Lisi Petaia says the study will also allow health services to review post traumatic symptoms related to the tsunami.