Monday, July 26, 2010

Mum's grief a cry for help, govt agencies can assist

Raymond's letter is published in the New Paper today, Monday 26 July 2010, page 17.

Every now and then I read reports of Singaporeans unable to cope with the stresses of life.
“Mum still pretends 'Ah Girl' is alive,” (The New Paper, July 20) is yet another heart-wrenching story.

In her own words, “There is no conclusion, no closure. But what can we do?”

Madam Quek Lay Lian is clearly crying out for help as she goes through tremendous emotional pain of losing her beloved daughter Candice Goh Hui Yi.
The 17-year-old's boyfriend who was traumatised and hospitalised with acute grief will also find it hard to cope with the tragic death of his girlfriend. It can haunt him for a long time.

People struggling to cope with stress and depression may not seek treatment because many in our society are still not ready to accept people with mental illness.

Depression and other types of mental illness are unpredictable, as was the case with the late Ms Kerin Peh who could not cope with the mysterious death of her husband on their wedding night.

Professional help should have been offered to Ms Kerin Peh when she first attempted to end her life by slitting her wrists. Ms Peh's apparent suicide and now Candice Goh's fatal fall raise questions above the support mechanisms in Singapore.

All of us, including government agencies, have a role to play in keeping our suicides rate down. We should not just offer advice, but take it one step further by bringing counselling and psychiatric services right to the doorstep of those who are in dire need of help.

This is how it works:
An appointed ministry scans the newspapers everyday to look out for those who are unable to cope or who are at risks of harming themselves. They then tie-up with the relevant counselling centres, hospitals or voluntary welfare organisations to offer professional services to those who require help.

Simply put - bring the services right to the doorstep of those struggling to cope.

Funds can come from ComCare or the Government could set up a special “Life Fund” to assist such people. In the case of those who are facing hardships, these counselling services should be offered free of charge.

The Government should also provide the necessary resources and money so that the appointed voluntary welfare organisations or hospitals can better manage the increased workload.


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