Maldives National Mental Health Helpline Inaugurated!

The helpline, reachable at 1677, serves as a lifeline for those navigating the tumultuous waters of psychological distress.

Twitter @MoHmv

Twitter @MoHmv

When it comes to the Maldives, and even around the globe, there are certain important topics that often go undiscussed, hidden behind closed doors. Although discussions around mental health have become a lot more common than what it was five or even ten years ago, it’s still a topic which is often discussed with a hushed tone, like a secret that needs to be kept away from the public.

Despite the progress made in recent years, conversations surrounding mental health remain shrouded in stigma and secrecy. Yet, amidst the whispers of struggles unheard, the urgency to confront these issues grows ever more pressing. The lack of accessible mental health services and support systems has left many individuals stranded, seeking solace in the fragmented guidance of friends, family, or the vast expanse of the internet.

However, as of late the discussions around mental health have increased, leading to the Maldives taking more progressive steps towards making these discussions less taboo. On the 21st of February, a pivotal moment in the nation's journey towards mental well-being unfolded as the Maldivian Government launched a groundbreaking initiative—a dedicated helpline offering psychological first aid services.

This helpline, accessible 24/7 to individuals of all ages, represents a pivotal shift in addressing mental health challenges. Spearheaded by the Ministry of Sports, Fitness, and Recreation, its inauguration marks a significant milestone in President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu's 14-week initiatives.

The helpline, reachable at 1677, serves as a lifeline for those navigating the tumultuous waters of psychological distress. It provides a safe haven where individuals can openly discuss their challenges and receive immediate assistance. Moreover, it offers not only psychological first aid but also facilitates referrals under stringent policies, ensuring that those in need receive comprehensive support.

This, however, is not the first major step taken as of late as the Maldivian Government has worked on a few initiatives to make mental health help more accessible to its citizens. On 15th June 2023, the former administration led by Ibrahim Mohamed Solih also saw the inauguration of a helpline directed at school students. This helpline, which can be reached by dialling 1484 is accessible for school students on all days except Friday between the hours of 3-9 pm. Through this helpline, students can reach trained counsellors.

Additionally, in October of 2023, the National Center for Mental Health Care operated under Indhira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) also launched its first-ever mental health conference.  With these steps, the Maldives appears to be on the right track to address the lack of accessible mental health care in the country.

The Maldivian Government appears to be taking the much-needed step to destigmatize mental health, and extending a helping hand to those in need through the helplines. Although there is still a long way to go, these initiatives signal a shift towards a future where mental health is acknowledged, supported, and prioritised.

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