BUILDING A SUSTAINABLE MODEL IN THE COMMUNITY FOR MENTAL HEALTH PEERS.
“Being a mental health NGO formed and run by people with lived experience is both painful and rewarding. From the stigma, discrimination, injustices, and human rights abuses that my peers face, including family members, to the crippling effects of the condition, the lack of treatment, help, support, and poor mental health literacy have hindered the recovery of those struggling in the community. Witnessing the harsh and brutal reality of what people continue to experience is hard and heartbreaking.
Pn. Anita Abu Bakar,
President of Mental Illness Awareness & Support Association (MIASA).
While MIASA is able to provide tremendous support services, including a 24/7 crisis helpline, Supported employment programmes, Peer and arts-based support, training and programmes to mental health clubhouses nationwide, it isn’t enough to protect our peers rights or enable recovery fully to the point where peers can be independent and thrive successfully in the community.
Services are limited and concentrated geographically in the big cities, where the B40 community and marginalised folks are finding it difficult to access them, on top of limited mental health professionals, long wait times and timely response. Investments and prioritisation in mental health by the government continue to be a challenge despite data released by WHO last year indicating an increase of 25% in already common conditions like anxiety and depression, which adds to the 1 billion people who already live with a mental health condition. Not merely a health care issue but a social justice issue has made many susceptible to this with minimal support to manage and improve their recovery outcomes.
“Only through seeking knowledge and implementing the knowledge will change begin.”
With the current gaps that exist within the mental health system, we must strive to transform environments that influence the mental health of people and expand community-based support so that we can achieve universal health coverage for mental health. In so doing, we will reduce suffering, preserve people’s dignity, provide them their rights and equal opportunities and advance the development of our communities and societies. Although MIASA has done much to help the community, without the support of the various ministries, policymakers, the private sector, doctors, families, and peers working together collectively, a successful recovery will never be a reality for all. Till then, our promise remains. We will continue to do everything in our power to continue working for change, doing the work everyday, and bringing alive the voices of our peers and families.”
Much love and solidarity,
Puan Anita Abu Bakar
President and Founder