Thursday, October 2, 2014

Greater support for carers of mentally ill can prevent tragedies- Raymond Anthony Fernando's letter to the press

My letter on the above matter is published in MediaCorp's TODAY newspaper .

I refer to the report “Mum who pushed son out of window gets 10 years’ jail” (Sept 25) and share the writer’s sentiments in the letter “Tragedy shows need for better coordination among agencies” (Sept 29).

Not adhering to medication that helps in managing mental illness can indeed lead to dire consequences.
The Institute of Mental Health (IMH) must collaborate more closely with the Caregivers Alliance Singapore and the Singapore Association of Mental Health to better support carers of the mentally ill.

To that end, I suggest carers of patients seeing doctors at the IMH be referred to either of these voluntary welfare organisations, so families can better manage their loved ones.

With monthly reports exchanged among these three organisations, I am confident such tragedies can be avoided. Also, forensic psychiatrists and social workers from the IMH should manage forensic patients in the community.

The treating psychiatrist in the forensic ward should continue to see his or her patients upon their release, as he/she would be well positioned to understand what they have gone through.

Finally, support from family, the community and the authorities can be crucial to sustain convicted patients along their journey towards rehabilitation.

Thus, I suggest that volunteers from the Roman Catholic Prison Ministry, which is doing a good job in helping prisoners to turn their lives around, step forward to help Rebecca Loh when she is in a more stable condition.


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