Thursday, December 17, 2009

Letter to the New Paper: Taking care of mental patients

Letter to the New Paper: More help and support needed

My letter to the New Paper was published today, Thursday 17 December 2009, Page 21

I refer to the report, “I am confused about how my wife died” (The New Paper, 11 Dec).

The depressing events surrounding Madam Hoon Ai Choo's death and how her confused husband did not realise that she had died, once again demonstrate the total isolation and lack of support psychiatric patients and their caregivers continue to face in their lives.

It must be heartbreaking for Madam Hooi's husband, Mr Lua to come to terms with her tragic end. I hope that he gets all the support that he badly needs.

Over the last few months, there have been many cases of people losing the will to live.

On the 8 Dec, a depressed widow of the bridegroom found dead outside the Hilton Singapore hours after their wedding banquet was rushed to hospital with cuts to both her wrists. Madam Kerin Peh had attempted suicide because she could not cope with the loss of her husband.

I was also deeply saddened to read of the report in which a 50-year-old Indian diver had committed suicide after his wife left him and when he faced financial problems regarding payments to his flat.

I relate well to these cases because as a caregiver to my wife who has mental illness, I face huge roadblocks in providing a safe haven for her.

On many occasions I had wanted to buy an insurance policy for my wife, but it was rejected because even notable insurance companies do not allow coverage for psychiatric patients. Why?

I had approached the newly set-up Centre for Enabling Living (CEL) twice to ask them to source for funding for the books that my wife and I can write, but the management flatly refused to help to put up the appeal on our behalf.

What is the point of setting up an organisation that refuses to attend to the needs of patients with disabilities, especially when we both have to write for a living?

The nationwide survey on mental health will take one year. In the meantime, what measures are there in place to save and rebuild lives?


No comments: