Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Shame on those who do not give people with mental illness a chance to prove themselves

(Published - ST Forum, Online Story. October 17, 2007)

I refer to Mr Andrew Seah's letter, 'Why are employers reluctant to give the mentally ill a chance?' (Online forum, Oct 15).

While I feel it is very heartless of employers to overlook the hiring of persons who have or had mental illness, there should be more efforts towards informing and educating the public on mental health and related illnesses.

Such information will be vital in making society more understanding of mental-health issues. More importantly, it will combat prejudice against people with mental illness.

Society mostly view mental illness very negatively and associate it with feebleness of character. This is sad as the person will be stigmatised, which can manifest in loss of job opportunities and even friends.

Medication can help regulate and treat mental illness. One who takes medication or have recovered from an illness is not always a professional liability or incapable of performing tasks. Medication alone is useless to helping sufferers of mental illnesses recover, for they also need understanding and support.

Little credit is given to people who have suffered from mental illness and try to regain control and happiness in their lives. And shame on those who have not given themselves a chance to let persons who have or had mental illness to prove themselves.

Mr Seah's letter reveals an aspect of Singapore we have to look into: The lack of compassion. That is an illness our society is suffering from.

Ho Chi Sam

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