Friday, November 8, 2013

Concessions for mentally ill patients and caregivers? Advocate for the mentaly ill extraordinary ,Raymond Anthony Fernando writes to the press

Advocacy must be part & parcel of a good mental health care system, its the practice in well developed countries like Hong Kong , Australia  & America.  We have a long way to go as far as mental health support is concerned.

Check out my letter to the Straits Times.

Letter to ST: Concessions for mentally ill patients and caregivers?

My letter on the above matter was published in The Straits Times on Friday 8th November 2013.

I welcome the proposal by the Fare Review Mechanism Committee to provide subsidised public transport fares to disabled people (“Fare concessions for more commuters: Panel”; Wednesday).

Taking care of loved ones with chronic illnesses can be draining for caregivers, more so with the rising cost of living. Many caregivers are retired or have given up their jobs to focus on caring for their loved ones.

A major concern for them is the transport expenses incurred when they take their loved ones to hospitals and polyclinics for regular medical appointments. On average, I take my wife, who is battling schizophrenia, for at least eight medical appointments a month.

The committee has recommended concessions for people with disabilities. But what about individuals with “hidden” disabilities such as mental illness?

They may have difficulty finding work because of the stigma attached to their conditions, and need to travel on public transport to search for jobs.

So I urge the Government to consider this group and their caregivers as well when approving fare concessions. To prevent abuse, a special concession card with a photo of the caregiver could be issued by the transport operators. The same could be applied for mentally ill patients, who would need a supporting letter from a psychiatrist.

Mr Raymond Anthony Fernando



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