Call to support individuals with mental health issues

|     Aziz Idris     |

THE establishment of the National Mental Helpline Talian Harapan 145 is one of the Ministry of Health’s (MoH) strategies to provide support to the public on issues relating to mental and emotional health.

Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohammad Isham bin Haji Jaafar highlighted this during a press conference to launch the helpline on Tuesday.

He said there is “no health without mental health”.

Based on this, the MoH places great emphasis on mental health in Brunei and strives to strengthen the mental healthcare system and makes it more innovative, proactive and effective, not just to respond to the current needs of the people but also to ensure that it is prepared to address challenges that lie ahead, he said.

“These efforts (correspond to) the policies highlighted at the 66th World Health Assembly Resolution in May 2013, including the Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2020 which recommends member countries to ensure the provision of services, policies, legislations, plans, strategies and programmes to protect, promote and respect the rights of people with mental disorders,” the minister said.

Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohammad Isham bin Haji Jaafar at the press conference for the launch of the helpline. – AZIZ IDRIS

He added that the Talian Harapan 145 helpline is also a product of the country’s Mental Health Order, 2014, which aims to provide for the care, treatment, rehabilitation and protection of the mentally disordered.

The minister called for the public’s cooperation to support individuals with mental health problems and treat them with respect, especially those who are at risk of suicide.

“All stakeholders should cooperate and work together in addressing mental health and reducing suicides in Brunei Darussalam,” he said.

“For example we can do our part by offering assistance to family members, friends or colleagues,” he said. “We can hear their concerns, ask what we can do to help or offer to accompany them to see a doctor or psychologist, or encourage them to call the 145 helpline. (Every little bit of support) can make a lot of difference to stressed individuals.”

The new hotline will be handled by mental health professionals on a daily basis from 8am till 11pm, with privacy ensured for callers.

For information, contact the helpline directly at 145, the Darussalam line at 123, or visit the MoH website at www.moh.gov.bn.