Mental health plays a crucial role in overall wellbeing, says First Lady Fazna Ahmed.
She said this in her keynote address at the 'Oevaru Mental Health Conference' inaugural session held at Villa Nautica on Sunday.
Taking the podium at the event, FL Fazna shed light on the crucial role mental health plays in overall wellbeing, noting that mental health is not a secondary concern but an integral part of personal health.
Stressing that acknowledging mental health helps pave the way for more open discussions and lowers stigma, FL Fazna highlighted that acknowledging mental health further encourages the people to demand to prioritize mental health from policymakers, health practitioners, and the society overall.
Shedding light on the theme of the conference; “Changing Currents: Forming Connections”, the first lady stated that I was particularly relevant in the ever-evolving world we live in.
FL Fazna went on to note that while people cannot control what happens, they can shape the way they respond to things and added that the strength of their responses depends entirely on political will, data availability, capacity, and collaboration.
Going on to shed light on the incumbent administration's efforts to promote mental health and provide mental health care services, the first lady asserted that the National Centre for Mental Health has been established because of the political will to prioritize mental health in the Maldives.
She stated that this has led to the expansion of in-patient psychiatry services, increased Aasandha coverage for therapeutic services, promotion of physical fitness and sports as part of a healthy lifestyle, increased mental health GAP training, provision of higher education scholarships in the field of mental health, and expansion of mental health services beyond the Greater Malé Region.
Acknowledging that current data on mental health in the Maldives is limited and outdated, the first lady highlighted that the people need inclusive data to identify when and where interventions are most effective in order to prevent and support mental health issues, effectively.
In her speech FL Fazna also stressed the need for enhanced capacity for mental health support through early detection, prevention, as well as decentralized access to services.
Advocating for greater collaboration within the communities, FL Fazna noted that learning from each other is crucial to overcome resource limitations as well as avoid duplication.
A two-day event, the Oevaru Mental Health Conference is an initiative of the National Centre for Mental Health.
The conference aims to provide a platform to discuss ways to address issues linked to mental health.