Friday, April 9, 2010

2sides: Mental health awareness among youths

I will keep this brief (nothing is brief when it comes to me, huh? The cows should be coming home soon). A group of Nanyang Technological University students are spearheading a project raising awareness on mental health and wellness among youths.

Their project is located at

The message is communicated through a fictional character, as you will notice, who expresses herself in writing and music.

This I hope, will be one of many drives and campaigns to bring to the fore mental wellness for the young in Singapore.

Mental illness, such as depression or bipolar disorder, is highly stigmatised. But with some education, we can approach it positively and respectfully.

On the medical or psychiatric side, an affected individual may encounter chemical imbalances or simply succumbs to a vicious cycle of depression.

There are also environmental factors that contribute to mental illness too, such as high stress conditions, which cause anxiety, or prolonged spells of loneliness.

One's mental health depends on a positive and supportive environment. Most mental illnesses too can be treated with medication and counseling.

For youth mental health, most of us often dismiss this as just an angsty phase of mood-swings and overlook what could be legitimate issues such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia or manic depression. Perhaps we all could be a little more sensitive and sensitised to mental health.

There will always be help and we should not be afraid to seek help through these channels when we or a close relative or friend are in need.

There is no shame in seeking help. Some insensitive and ignorant people may be impatient, laugh or make wisecracks at mental illness, but they are only as mortal as their opinion. With education and awareness and a maturity that comes with them, we can overcome its stigmatism.

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