Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Letter to the Press: COPING WITH STRESS & GRIEF

Letter to the New Paper: COPING WITH STRESS & GRIEF
Provide help for those who struggle

Raymond's letter on the above matter is published in the New Paper today, Tuesday 13 July 2010, page 18.

I refer to the report, “She bought niche next to hubby's ashes (The New Paper, 6 July).

Once again, another innocent life has been taken. Within less than a year two tragedies have hit this family – the apparent suicide of Ms Kerin Peh and the mysterious death of her beloved husband.

I could not hold back my tears as I read about the chain of events that led to Ms Peh's tragic end and how her family is devasted by her untimely passing.

Undoubtedly,her mother and sisters need a great deal of help as they struggle to come to terms with her death. Otherwise, they, too, are likely to fall into depression.

Although the media has run stories on suicides, many of these tragedies go unreported, which is also the case with many people struggling with depression and other types of mental illness.

Address the problem

We cannot afford to sweep this problem under the carpet. We need to address the problems of people struggling with the stresses of life and come up with quick solutions, because every life is precious.

Caregivers who are looking after a loved one with mental illness are in urgent need of support because caregiving requires round-the clock-supervision. The illness is unpredictable, as was the case of the grief-stricken widow, Ms Peh.

I repeat to the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports, a sugestion which I first made in February last year. It should collaborate with the mental health providers, the residents committees and set up a database that can provide help measures to the mentally ill and their caregivers.

Given my 35 years' experience in helping my wife cope with schizophrenia and depression, I have often been roped in to share my life experience with students and staff from various organisations through motivational talks.

So I am repeating an offer I have made in the past, to give motivational talks to the Community Development Councils. I feel my caregiving skills can be useful to grassroots leaders and staff of the CDCs.

I would like to help grassroots leaders start support groups within their own constituencies once they have acquired the skills.

My mother taught me to feel for the less fortunate. I feel passionately about the mentally ill and their caregivers and hope that more can be done for this group.


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