Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Raymond 's letter to The Straits Times: Get all parties up to speed on mental illness

My letter to The Straits Times on the above subject was published on Wednesday 3rd December 2014.

It is very true that the onslaught of mental illness takes a heavy toll on caregivers (“Mental illness: Caregivers are forgotten collateral damage”; last Saturday).

Many caregivers experience much anxiety, frustration and anger while their loved ones are battling their mental conditions.

These caregivers are often all alone in trying to help their loved ones.  Those who do not have the willpower to press on will give up.  When this happens, the patient’s condition worsens.

With the discovery of new and better drugs, however, there is a good chance of recovery.  Public awareness of this must be reinforced so that people who need help will step forward for treatment.

Public education for everyone – from government agencies to grassroots leaders to the community – must be intensified.

The case of the Pasir Ris resident who kept banging on walls for years, disrupting the lives of his neighbours, demonstrates the lack of understanding of mental illness (“Mental health check for Pasir Ris ‘neighbour from hell’”; last Friday).

I wonder why the authorities took so long to have the man referred for psychiatric assessment.
With early treatment, the chances of a speedy recovery are better. If cases go untreated, people with mental illness will be viewed as nothing but troublemakers, and stigmatisation of this group will deepen.

This is not the way to go, at a time when the Government is working to build an inclusive society.

Raymond Anthony Fernando







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