My letter to The Sunday Times on the above subject is published today – Sunday 1st February 2015.
With greater public awareness of mental health issues, more young people are coming forward for early treatment of their conditions (“More young people seek help for depression”; last Sunday).
Depression can also hit elderly people who are isolated or seriously ill, and who lack support.
Although depression is the easiest of all mental disorders to treat, most young sufferers do not seek treatment because they fear losing their jobs if their bosses find out about their condition.
It is important to seek treatment early because, in some instances, there could be more underlying serious mental disorders such as schizophrenia. This was the case with my late wife, who had schizophrenia but whose early diagnosis revealed she was suffering from only depression.
The Institute of Mental Health has a good team of clinicians who can help suffers manage depression. If sufferers are reluctant to seek treatment because of the stigma, they can turn to a number of polyclinics whose doctors are trained in basic mental health care.
The environment, both at the workplace and at home, plays an important role in helping people cope with the onslaught of depression. Let us all do our part to help them.
Raymond Anthony Fernando
Footnote: I first wrote about the dangers of depression as far back as 2004 and how it is going to affect many people worldwide, but how many people took me seriously. The Singapore Govt. must value feedback from its citizens, especially those who have a life experience and are willingly to share it. If we don't address this issue quickly, our economy will suffer.