Malaysia: Deputy Health Minister urges insurers to cover mental illnesses

Malaysia's Deputy Health Minister Lee Boon Chye encouraged insurers to provide coverage for mental healthcare. This would assist those in need and raise awareness on mental health issues as mental health is becoming an emerging issue in Malaysia.

Noting AIA Singapore’s mental health coverage policy, Dr Lee said it would be great if insurers in Malaysia could similarly provide mental healthcare coverage for major depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, Tourette's and obsessive-compulsive disorder. (See AIA launches Singapore's first policy that covers mental illnesses.)

Dr Lee also observed a worrying trend of mental health issues among teenagers from data obtained from the National Health and Morbidity Survey, and said that the MOH had organised various programmes in collaboration with the community and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to counter mental health issues.

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Speaking at a press conference last week, Dr Lee made his comments on mental health coverage in response to comments made by social activist and Malaysia Psychiatric Association patron Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye. Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye had called on the MOH to focus on having more facilities and insurance coverage for mental healthcare and treatment. He also urged NGOs to create awareness on mental health and the importance of insurance coverage for mental health by sending a memorandum to both the government and insurers.

According to the National Health Mobility Survey 2015, 29.2% or 4.2m of Malaysian population aged 16 and above, suffer from various types of mental illnesses.

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