An open letter to Mr Heng Swee Keat Education Minister/Minister in charge of the National Conversation on support for the mentally ill"The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others."
Sunday 24th March 2013
Dear Mr Heng,
When I spoke to you at the very first Singapore conversation, you told me that you fully understood how hard it is for caregivers of the mentally ill and you promised to look into the welfare of this marginalized community. I would like to believe you, Mr Heng because you do look like someone who cares.
I would like you to read my report to the Transport & Health Ministers and copied to the PM.
Click here to read:
Reports of the mentally ill in today’s Sunday Times
Interesting reports in today’s Sunday Times, one of which touches on volunteers who are needed for those who feel unloved and uncared for –like the mentally ill. How true, the mentally ill are in dire need of love and support.
When animals are killed as was in the recent case of the lady who was very unhappy when a dog was put to sleep by the AVA, there was big uproar on social media. The lady was right in speaking out because God wants us to love all living things.
Yet when a 28-year-old woman was killed so tragically by a lorry driver in Buangkok Green just outside IMH, how many people felt her pain and that of her family? How many people battled an eye lid? Human beings must be loved just like animals. I wonder what kind of society we are breeding when people do not know how to feel for this marginalized community?
People have asked me this question: “Do you know if the woman who was killed in the accident at Buangkok Green was an IMH patient?”
My answer to them “I am not sure if the lady who was killed was a patient or a staff member. But does that matter? In any event no one is telling. We are talking about human lives here being lost – and so tragically at that. Must another tragic accident take place before someone acts?”
Government agencies need to respond to letters in the press. If I write a letter to the press, it is only proper that a reply is given back to the press.
The MOH & others, including PM Lee are repeatedly saying that everyone must be responsible in taking care of their own health. Let me assure all of you, that NO ONE chose to have mental illnesses. Some, like my wife, who has battled schizophrenia for 40 years, was born with it. Mental illness is sometimes genetic. In the case of her advanced arthritis condition that leaves her mobility severely impaired, the Senior Consultant TTSH told me that some of the psychiatric drugs are causing bone degeneration. So I checked with my wife’s psychiatrist, a Senior Consultant at IMH, who told me, “There must be a trade-of”.
Does she, Mr Heng, choose to have these chronic illnesses? So let’s be sensitive to the feelings of these patients as well as their caregivers.
I’m not too sure if I want to participate in the next Singapore Conversation because in an honestly, Mr Heng, I find that the Govt. is just not listening. And it lacks understanding.
Raymond Anthony Fernando
Cc: Health Ministers, PM Lee & President Tony Tan .
Rachel Chang -ST