Monday, June 14, 2010

Letter to the New Paper: More social support needed for mentally ill

Raymond's letter on the above matter is published in the New Paper on Monday 14 June 2010, page 17.

I am encouraged by two recent media reports which indicate to me that the Government is listening to feedback and is willing to provide better support for low-income families, including those with mental health issues.

One was, “Work Support Programme - Govt study to track impact of scheme” (The New Paper, June 4).

The proposed study on the Work Support Programme will enable the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports to fine-tune the programmes to give better support for low income families.

This is the right move given that we are facing more and more social problems.

Under the programme, I urge the Government to consider awarding grants or sponsorship that could allow those with special needs such as psychiatric patients and their caregivers to work from home with the skills that they possess or could acquire.

There was also a report in The Straits Times on June 5, “$70m more for Temasek charity”.
Temasek Cares, a charity funded by Temasek Holdings, is giving good support to the mentally ill.

I share the view of chairman Richard Magnus that mental illness is not an area given much attention in Singapore.

To raise caregiving to a higher level, I urge Temasek Cares and the Government to consider building affordable hostels within the grounds of the Institute of Mental Health or in the vicinity so that caregivers can rent a room and be close to their loved ones hospitalised there.

Providing strong emotional support can be vital to their quick recovery.

These hostels could also be rented out when required in other circumstances, such when the Lift Upgrading Programme(LUP) is carried out.

One of the trigger factors that can cause my wife to fall seriously ill is excessive noise such as the hacking of the brick walls during the LUP.

It was no easy feat for me to frantically hunt for cheaper alternative accommodation when this started in our block recently.


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