Malaysia’s health ministry has encouraged insurers to cover mental illnesses, with close to two out of every 10 teenagers in the country having reported experiencing depression.
Dr Lee Boon Chye, deputy health minister, said that mental illness was a major problem in Malaysia.
With coverage, it will help to increase awareness on mental illness and provide those who are stricken with mental illness some coverage in time of need, he said to the Malay Mail.
He also noted that treatment or management of mental illness is hugely expensive.
“Consultation can come to hundreds (of ringgit). Just sitting there and discussing with psychiatrist specialists,” he said.
Lee was responding to the call of Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye, patron of the Malaysia Psychiatric Association, who called on the government to take action and encourage insurance coverage for mental health care and treatment.
According to Lee, mental health insurance is already being implemented in neighbouring Singapore. However, mandating insurance companies to include mental health in their policies falls under the responsibility of Bank Negara Malaysia, the country’s central bank.
“For the Health Ministry, we encourage insurance companies in the country to provide coverage for mental illness,” he said.