MoH set to change societal view on mental heath

Izah Azahari

Changing societal view on mental health issues is among the objectives detailed in the Ministry of Health’s (MoH) Strategic Plan 2019-2023 particularly in the SG2: Promote Better Mental Health and Well-Being for Everyone.

This was said by Head of the Health Promotion Centre (HPC) at the MoH Dr Hajah Norhayati binti Haji Md Kassim during a special forum for men themed ‘Men – Breaking Barriers for A Better Mental Health’ at Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Complex in the capital yesterday.

“It is hoped that the forum has served as a platform to raise public awareness, especially among men, on men’s mental health problems,” Dr Hajah Norhayati said.

Among the strategies to achieve the objective is through enhancing cooperation with relevant parties in disseminating and promoting the importance of physical and mental health.

Issues related to men’s mental health, such as depression and suicidal ideation, were discussed at the forum which was intended as a platform to bring awareness on the importance of faith, hope, self-determination, openness of thought and mutual support while overcoming the stigma.

Dr Hajah Norhayati said mental health issues in men are important because there are still many people in the society, especially men, who refuse to come forward and get the help and treatment they need out of shame and fear of being discriminated against or cast out.

The forum also featured solutions to negative perceptions by focussing on knowledge and awareness on men’s health issues: the importance of faith by having self-control as a guide to life; the importance of hope by not giving up easily; the importance of increasing self-confidence and self-esteem; as well as the importance of getting help and support from others.

Head of the Health Promotion Centre at the MoH Dr Hajah Norhayati binti Haji Md Kassim speaks at the forum. PHOTO: IZAH AZAHARI