Insurers' mindset on mental illness outdated

I went into depression last year and decided to seek medical help. To my surprise, I found that my insurance company would not reimburse my claims for doctors' visits.

At my next visit, I discussed this with my doctor and he said that the prevailing thought, which he had given up trying to fight, was that depression was not a real illness, but something that could be "shaken off" by people.

For a nation that is so forward looking in so many regards (take, for example, the Smart Nation initiative), I was surprised to realise that the views of insurance companies on mental health are so outdated.

It is, by now, well established that depression (as well as other types of mental illness) is associated with changes in the brain, just as a heart attack leads to changes in the heart.

These changes cannot just be "shaken off", but need medical attention.

If the private sector is going to hold on to such outdated views, I hope that the forward-looking Government here can intervene and build some policy around this issue.

Nick Gurso

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 03, 2016, with the headline 'Insurers' mindset on mental illness outdated'. Print Edition | Subscribe