Even in the most developed countries in the world, one of the things that people constantly keep seeking is better mental health facilities. Especially when it comes to today’s fast-paced and interconnected world, the significance of mental health cannot be emphasized enough.
This statement remains to be true, especially for the younger generation, who are constantly faced with growing various pressures. With mental health being an intrinsic part of our overall well-being, influencing every aspect of our lives from our ability to function at work or even school, there is undeniable neglect and taboo surrounding the topic, especially when it comes to communities such as the ones we have here in the Maldives.
Though the statistics show that there is a growing need for people seeking treatment for various mental illnesses in the country, to this day, the talk about how much the public, especially the youth is suffering appears to be a very hush-hush topic in the Maldives. Especially with so much going around globally, the urgent need to prioritize mental health has become extremely evident. This statement is true, especially for a country like the Maldives where access to mental health help is still scarce and unaffordable to the majority of the people.
On 13th June 2023, the Government of the Maldives in partnership with UNICEF and WHO launched a psychological first aid helpline, finally giving some direction to students who are seeking mental health help in the Maldives. This helpline, which can be reached by dialling 1484, will be accessible starting June 18, 2023, on all days except Fridays between the hours of 3-9 pm.
The main aim of this helpline is to provide mental health and psychological support to students, by allowing them to contact trained counsellors directly through the helpline. With the introduction of this helpline, free access to trained counsellors will now be available to students not just in the capital City, but in all corners of the Maldives.
While this might seem like a small step towards the right direction, this has been a long-time coming, especially for those students who have a hard time coping with the stress during finals season. There is no denying that access to better mental care is needed for people of all age groups in the Maldives, but this helpline might be the first step towards the country finally tackling a broader range of mental health services!