Insurance companies in the country have been urged to cover mental illnesses in their health insurance policies as more people, especially youngsters are experiencing mental health problems.
Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye said insurance companies in several other countries are already covering treatment for five types of mental illnesses namely depression; bipolar disorder (bipolar disorder), schizophrenia (schizophrenia); obsessive-compulsive disorder (obsessive compulsive disorder) and tourette syndrome.
"Based on data from the National Health Mobility Survey in 2015, about 29.2 per cent of 4.2 million Malaysians aged 16 and above experience various types of mental illnesses.
"For the year 2017, 17.7 per cent of women and 18.9 per cent of men aged 13 to 17 suffered depression while 42.3 per cent of women and 37.1 per cent of men had experienced anxiety," he told reporters after officiating the Cultural Show Day at Poi Lam Secondary School (SUWA) here today.
Dr Lee said this in response to the call by social activist and patron of the Malaysian Psychiatric Association Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye to the Ministry of Health to focus on having more facilities and insurance coverage for mental healthcare and treatment.
Elaborating Dr Lee said mental problems could no longer be ignored but should be addressed not only by the Health Ministry but also by all parties.
He added that mental illness requires prolonged medical attention and the cost of treatment could reach up to hundreds of ringgit for each consultation session.