Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Letter to MediaCorp’s TODAY Newspaper: Ensure equal opportunities for the mentally ill

My letter on the above matter was published in TODAY newspaper on Tuesday 27th August 2013.
At the National Day Rally, the Prime Minister highlighted how an A*Star scientist who became blind at age four went on to excel in life.
Such recognition on a national level would encourage people with physical disabilities to work hard and not view their disability as an obstacle to achieving the best results. There are many psychiatric patients who have also excelled in life. But while a physical disability is mostly visible, mental illness is a hidden condition.
Lately, several citizens with physical disabilities have been given due recognition in sports and other fields.
How much recognition, though, is given to people with mental illness who have done equally well?
One way for the “Govt to ensure ‘S’pore society remains fair’” (Aug 24) is to ensure that people with mental illness and their caregivers are given equal opportunities and support to reintegrate into society, whether it is securing jobs in the Civil Service or getting insurance coverage.
We cannot be an inclusive society if people with mental illness lack opportunities to become self-reliant.

Raymond Anthony Fernando



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