KUALA LUMPUR: The public should change their stigma on mental illness and to not be ashamed to seek psychiatric treatment if they or their family members have such problems, Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Hannah Yeoh said.

She noted that studies conducted by relevant quarters showed that about 30 per cent of Malaysian population had mental problems.

“The number will increase if there is no ongoing intervention and mental health is expected to be the second largest disease affecting Malaysians after heart disease by 2030,” she said, adding that those in need of assistance and help can call the Kasih Helpline at 15999 or the Befrienders.

She said for those staying in housing areas, such as the People’s Housing Project (PPR), they could go to the Psychological Care Centre (PCC) in their respective areas.

Yeoh said this when met by reporters after opening Etiqa’s First-in-Malaysia Critical Illness Rider with Mental Illness Coverage (IL CI Plus) here yesterday.

For intervention of mental illness, she expressed the need for employers to also play an important role in ensuring work life balance, which is to also provide time for employees to be with their families.

“This is because mental illness also occurs in children, it begins with depression, loneliness and no face-to-face interaction due to obsession with gadgets,” she added.

Meanwhile, Yeoh said Etiqa, which is a leading Malaysian insurer, is the first in Malaysia to recognise mental illness, providing an insurance coverage of up to RM30,000.

“Mental illness can be costly to treat as it can’t be cured overnight. With insurance coverage, that
burden can be lessened. 

“We hope that with Etiqa taking this step towards providing coverage for mental illness, more insurance companies in this country will follow suit,” she added. – Bernama