Mental health is not just a challenge to the overall well-being and health sector, but its implications extend well beyond that, reaching and integrating into the social aspects and economy of the country.
The number of individuals diagnosed with mental illnesses, those unable to function, and lives lost due to it are increasing at an alarming rate.
Globally, one in every eight suffers from mental illness.
As the number of mentally ill people increases in Maldives, the Ministry of Health said in reference to the “STEPS Noncommunicable Disease Risk Factor Survey” done by World Health Organization (WHO), that about one in every five people has experienced feelings of depression.
Noting that this year, a rapid assessment was conducted to identify the obstacles faced by mental health, the ministry said that based on the most significant findings of it, a mental health awareness campaign was kicked off.
The national-level campaign ‘Kihineh?’ – the National Social and Behavior Change Communications Strategy on Prevention and Promotion of Mental Health was launched on Monday, December 5.
The strategy and campaign were launched as part of the administration's policy on preventing and promoting mental health.
Purpose of this is to promote the mental well-being of individuals and the community, as well as change the outlook people have towards those suffering from this illness.
The Kihineh? campaign will run for a year, and is launched by the administration in partnership with UNICEF Maldives.
Health Ministry said that it aims to address and eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health and related issues, promote awareness and understanding of them, and create a more tolerant, nurturing, and compassionate community.
Speaking at the launching, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, identified the biggest challenge in the provision of mental healthcare as the area has been highly disregarded since early times.
The government highlights that mental health is a prioritized area in its ‘Strategic Action Plan’ and ‘National Realization and Recovery Plan’.
Those suffering from mental illnesses, especially in the long term are met with extensive expenses. Around the world, those with these illnesses have a hard time going about their daily lives and are unable to function normally, preventing them from earning an income as well.
Number of people with mental illnesses not only affects individual productivity but has implications at a national level as well.