Friday, January 15, 2016

Letter to Voices at Today Newspaper: Enlightened bosses can help recovery of mentally ill

My letter to MediaCorp’s TODAY newspaper on the above matter is published today, Friday 15 January 2016.

Last week, a senior doctor at the Singapore General Hospital (SGH) was given 12 months’ probation for holding a knife to her father’s neck to threaten him (“Doctor who threatened elderly father with knife gets 12 months’ probation”; Jan 7).

It is clear that any of us, no matter how academically qualified, can succumb to mental illness.
Experts have documented that heavy workloads, long and draining work hours, a lack of support and isolation are key factors contributing to mental illness.
It is therefore no surprise that a large portion of our workers are falling into depression.
All employers should heed the wisdom of what Community Court Judge Mathew Joseph observed on high workload and personal stress when he passed the sentence.
The well-being of workers, empathy and support are important factors in the recovery of people with mental health issues, and I applaud the judge in showing compassion to Dr Tham Kwang Wei by putting her on probation.
Having a steady job with an income allows a person to be valued and gives him or her a sense of worthiness.
This is where SGH has proved to be an enlightened employer by allowing Dr Tham to resume work as a director at SGH Life Centre’s Obesity and Metabolic Unit.
In the interests of her stability, it is best that the management ensures that Dr Tham’s work hours do not stretch longer than necessary.






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