I refer to the report, “This is her flat but.. this is her bedroom (The New Paper, Sept 11).
The case of Madam Mainam Mahmud and her mentally ill daughter shows yet again how mental illness without family and community support can cause havoc.
Many family members will adopt a hands-off attitude when a loved one is stricken with mental illness. That's the harsh reality.
Caregiving should be a shared responsibility and I hope that the Government will drive home this point.
People with mental illness can recover if they have a sense of belonging and worthiness.
In the case of the daughter, who is equipped with a science degree from the National University of Singapore, I am confident that if she is gainfully employed and continues her treatment, she will recover and go on to lead a normal life.
But an all-out effort must be made to eliminate the prejudices and barriers that those with mental illnesses face.
To tackle mental illness, the Government, the mental health-care providers, voluntary welfare organisations and the community support must play their part.
For a start, the Institute of Mental Health can send out a team to see how best they can help the family.
Next, the relevant town council should help to clean up the Havelock Road flat as the unhygienic condition that the daughter has created because of her obsessive compulsive disorder can be harmful to her, as well to the residents in the nearby flats.
Placing Madam Maniam in a nursing home temporarily will enable the 73-year-old woman to live with dignity.
Let us work together to ensure that the mentally ill and their families have a place in our society. And that they too, can call Singapore the best home to live in.
RAYMOND ANTHONY FERNANDO