Brunei Darussalam's government has provided universal health coverage for citizens and residents, including the existing mental health services in each district. The Minister of Health in a message in conjunction with the World Mental Health Day celebration said that however, there are obstacles to obtain the mental health services and this is not necessarily due to lack of availability or affordability. Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Doctor Haji Awang Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar added that the stigma on the issue of mental health problems is one of the main barriers to seeking treatment or help. Those who face such problems are still considered "weak" or "different". Hence, there is a need from global to change this way of thinking as mental health can affect anyone, regardless of individual background.
The Minister of Health also stressed that the impact of COVID-19 towards mental health is very significant in the country as seen from the number of calls received through the Talian Harapan 145 which has doubled to three times since the start of the second wave of COVID-19. 1,058 calls were recorded since August until September 2021 with an increase of types of mental health advice help calls including.
According to the Minister of Health, the Ministry of Health has conducted several health promotion activities to raise awareness on mental health and has encouraged a positive conversation on the importance of maintaining mental health. As a whole-of-nation approach is needed, the establishment of non-governmental organizations, NGO and other agencies are working to raise awareness and the support for mental health in the country is highly encouraged.
The Minister of Health also reminded that the Talian Harapan 145 is provided as a national mental health crisis helpline and also as a source of access to mental health services. All parties are encouraged to help in raising awareness of mental health in the country and provide support among each other during this challenging situation. This year's celebration carries a theme Mental Health in an unequal world.
Source: Radio Television Brunei