Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Raymond Anthony Fernando’s letter to The New Paper: Educate foreigners on mental health issues

My letter to the press (The New Paper) on the above subject appears today, Wednesday 11th March 2015. Do check it out!

It was heartrendering to read of how a 25-year-old Vietnamese woman lost her life because she heard voices in her head, as reported in “Car slams into her as she was falling” (The New Paper, Mar 5).

People may hear voices in their head if they suffer from conditions such as psychosis, schizophrenia or depression.  

But sadly, in many cases, when there is ignorance of mental illness and when proper treatment is not sought, it can lead to dire consequences, as in the case of Ms Ho Chieu. 

Although public education on mental health issues has helped patients to seek professional treatment, nurses at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) tell me that there are still family members who take their stricken loved ones to mediums or bomohs instead of to a hospital for treatment.

With many foreigners coming to work, study or even become spouses here, it is imperative that they too learn about mental health issues. 

I would suggest that agencies and associations involved with them tie-up with our mental health providers to include mental health education as part of their learning journey. 

With the recent budget announcement of $500 being given for continuous learning, some of those who have foreigners in their schools and companies should also make use of it to learn about mental health issues from the professionals and volunteers at IMH.

Let us make every effort to help our foreigners who move here to secure a good future in Singapore.




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