Sunday, October 24

S’wak government urged to provide more funds for mental health campaign

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Dato Dr Madeline Berma

KUCHING (Oct 14): The state government is urged to provide more funding for mental health campaign not only for the urban areas but also in the rural areas.

Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) Sarawak commissioner Dato Dr Madeline Berma said adequate funding is very crucial although mental health issues in Sarawak are under control.

“Funding is appropriate as we need to do massive campaigning on mental health awareness.

“In Sarawak, mental health issues are under control but prevention is always better than cure, thus to prevent the issues getting bigger, awareness is very important, equivalent to early stage for prevention,” she said after moderating the ‘Covid-19 Pandemic Challenges: Mental Health and Human Rights’ forum via Zoom yesterday morning.

She added the funds could be used to support the campaign as well as to support the NGOs who run centres for mental health rehabilitation.

“We (Suhakam) could do the campaign not just for the urban but also the rural areas besides helping those with mental health issues,” she said.

She also said that mental health is not just about individuals but it involves society.

“We have to remove the stigma on mental health, because our society sees mental health issues from negative perspective.

“In relation to mental issues, maybe one way to do the engagement is to engage with the community, community leaders, religious platforms like the churches, mosques, temples on the awareness of mental health,” she said.

The virtual Covid-19 Pandemic Challenges: Mental Health and Human Rights forum was participated by the patron of Mental Illness Awareness and Support Association (Miasa) Sarimah Ibrahim, who gave her keynote address.

Speakers at the forum were Hospital Sentosa Kuching director Dr Rosliwati Md Yusoff who spoke on ‘Mental Health and Care’, Laura Kho Sui San from Mind Brew Mental Health Association (MHAS) who spoke on ‘Creating Safe Space & Connecting Community for Mental Wellbeing’, and Sarawak Society for the Disabled (Pocs) chairman Kian Tungku.

The forum was also participated by about 100 people, including heads of government departments and agencies.

Meanwhile, Madeline hoped that there will be more collaboration with the government agencies and NGOs to do more campaign on mental illness in the future.