KUALA LUMPUR – Social activist and patron of the Malaysia Psychiatric Association Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye has called on the Ministry of Health (MOH) to focus on having more facilities and insurance coverage for mental healthcare and treatment.
“After hearing the demand from the public regarding this issue, I urge the ministry to work along with insurance companies to provide insurance facilities for mental health patients.
“Such coverage has been provided in Singapore for five types of mental illness including depression. This initiative is important to help the patients bear the cost of treatment involving mental health,” he told Bernama here.
Lee said non-governmental organisations (NGO) must also take the responsibility to create awareness on mental health and the importance of insurance coverage for mental health by sending a memorandum to both the government and the insurance providers.
He also stressed that Malaysia was quite behind in tackling mental health issues due to lack of resources in the area especially in term of facilities and practitioners.
“In terms of resources, there’s a lot to be done. We do not have enough psychiatric centres and clinics. Plus, we are also short in numbers of psychologists who are willing to attend mental health patients,’’ he said.
He said this could bring about a huge impact as Malaysians suffering from mental illness would not know where and how to seek help.
According to the National Health Mobility Survey 2015, 29.2 per cent or 4.2 million of Malaysian population aged 16 and above, suffer from various types of mental illness.
Lee said even students had also fallen victim to this problem, citing that exam-oriented culture was one of the reasons.
However, he praised the MOH for collaborating with the Ministry of Education to improve mental health among students through the Mental Health Assessment programme.