Monday, November 29, 2010

DEATH OF DISABLED GIRL:S'pore needs strong caregiver support system to boost mental health awareness

Raymond's letter on the above subject was published in The New Paper on Monday 29 November 2010, page 18.

I refer to the report, “Special needs: Caregivers need training” (The New Paper, Nov 25).

Yet another tragedy has taken place – this time involving an innocent 12-year-old who was physically disabled and had a low IQ.

It is never easy taking care of people with special needs, and if you are a novice managing someone with mental illness, you will be groping around in the dark.

The solution to prevent more tragedies from taking place is to learn the skills from seasoned caregivers who have give their stricken ones a new lease of life.

This is why, despite my never-ending difficulties in looking after my wife who sufferers from severe arthritis, I make time to volunteer at the Institute of Mental Health to share my share my experience and expertise in taking care of my wife while she recovered from schizophrenia and depression.

In my personal capacity, I also reach out to companies, clubs and government agencies to create more awareness of mental illness through motivational talks.

I would like to do more, but I face an uphill task because many are resistant to change.

Earlier this year, I got a letter signed by two government officials informing me that the Health Promotion Board and the various mental health service providers such as the Singapore Association for Mental Health and the Caregivers' Association of the Mentally Ill have been advised to engage my services to help people going through such challenges.

But none of these agencies have acted on this yet, though I have touched base with some of their staff.

If our mental health care system is to be the best in Asia, then surely, we must have an equally strong and solid caregiver support system in place.


No comments: