As an employer, you can follow these principles to adopt fair employment practices: Recruit and select employees on the basis of merit (such as skills, experience or ability to perform the job), regardless of age, race, gender, religion, marital status and family responsibilities, or disability. – Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP)
In my most recent posts, I investigate how much we do for mental health as a society. However, I wanted to look one step further into education and the education system. For a system that prides itself on producing many bright students and the number of students who manage to go to JC, Polytechnic and Universities, one thing we are still greatly lacking is the proper education for those beyond the books – mental health and well-being. My investigations show exactly that, and sadly, this result did not come as a surprise.
This post was written by Caiti Ward on October 12, 2017. She is a writer and a live-action performer in film, television and commercials, as well as a voice performer in animation and narration. You can read more of her posts at her blog: https://www.caitiscorner.com/
Recently, a YouTuber by the name of Logan Paul posted a video of his trip to Japan’s Suicide Forest. This forest is a place where the stressed and suicidal go to end their lives. In this video of his, he shows a man hanging from a tree, laughs at the body and makes snarky comments about how the man must have committed suicide recently, due to the colour of his skin.
SHINee lead singer and K-Pop star Kim Jong-hyun, better known by his stage name Jonghyun, died Monday evening in what police are investigating as a possible suicide. He was 27. “Please let me go. Tell me I did well. Final farewell,” the texts read, according to the Yonhap news agency. This is the second major celebrity suicide on my radar, after Chester Bennington earlier in the year.
How can a country that prides itself on healthcare policies view mental illness as a second or third priority? What I hope for is the day mental illness is treated with the same importance and seriousness as any other illness. Mental illness is, after all, a brain disorder.
We see sights like the one above on the train. It almost becomes parts of our daily routine. I was a commuter on the train recently, on my way to many different job interviews. These two issues etched a thought in my mind: (1) How many people I see out and about suffer from some form of mental illness?; and (2) Am I going to face the same stigma because I am ill?
My intolerance with how mental health is treated is the straw that will one day, break my back. Even while doing my research, the inaction and lack of a sense of urgency continue to grind my gears. For an issue that affects one in twelve Singaporeans, we sure aren’t doing anything about it.
To say that mental health and mental illnesses are plagued by stigma is a gross understatement. Yet, after one of the most successful decades into looking at neurology, we still see poor mental health and mental illness as a form of personal weakness and indulgence. This stigma that we put on people (or even ourselves) could shame them or others into not seeking treatment. Even if they do seek treatment, they can go through a nightmarish lonely recovery.
You often hear news stories of loners. Loners going on a shooting rampage. Loners killing themselves. Everyone has their preconceived ideas and label other people as such. I hear things like:”This boy is a loner, but he can speak well on stage.”, or “We didn’t know what happened to him. He was a nice and quiet boy, he didn’t have many friends, but he decided to do XXX”.
Yes, indeed they are.
Social insufficiencies can cause serious mental health issues. We, as humans, are social creatures and need to interact with others. We yearn to have relationships with others, communications with others, support systems, being part of our community, feeling loved by others. But friends who have never experienced mental health issues find it hard to help and can turn out to have certain negative side effects.
Mental illness makes you do a lot of things that people would deem “stupid”. They may sound melodramatic to an outsider, but to someone actually experiencing them, they are frustrating and terrifying. Many people do not understand that.
We have an education system that makes our students masters in Math and Science. This was posted by Claire last week. But I believe that this comes from a larger issue. Through some research, we might have the best system that makes our students masters in Math and Science, but the education system is backward in terms of helping our students grow and mature as students.
We don’t really talk about mental health. It’s an issue that we need to talk about more but the only times we tend to talk about them is when something bad happens. I was inspired to write an article about the state of conversation about mental health after a conversation with a rather important figure in my life growing up.
As someone who goes through periods and waves of depression, self-care can get terribly difficult for me. Brushing my teeth, taking showers or washing my face becomes something I do every few days. Recently, I found one way to make myself take showers. Still working on other self-care methods, but I think taking a shower can be one of the things that make a person feel more refreshed. A slightly cool shower running down the face and body can be very effective in upping one’s mood slightly, being clean and all.
So for the love of God, Buddha, Mohammed, or whatever god you believe in, if someone in your life suffers from mental illness, please visit them. Please care for them and extend a helping hand. Sinead, like myself, are fortunate enough to be seeking constant treatment and are able to share our experiences and opinions on what we go through. But there is a significant group of people who cannot.
I have never fessed up and actually recognised where my thoughts go sometimes. But the fact that I cannot care for myself, the fact that I cannot remember when was the last time I was happy and the fact that I do not see myself as a living being in the coming years scare me. It should scare others around me more than it does, and that is why I fight stigma.
Thus, I think I may appear high functioning, or I seem like I am doing okay when I am actually not. In reality, I feel that I am quite low functioning. I have huge employment and education gaps. That’s why I am writing this. I feel that I am lagging behind my peers, and I feel that I may not be able to find suitable employment in the future, so I don’t feel like I stand to lose by writing this.
Watching the girls’ routine during the Games, their reactions upon winning, and then this reflective piece describing the entire process, this somehow felt reminiscent of therapy to me. The metaphors and allusions and perfect descriptions of drowning are something I can relate easily too, even though I’m by no means a synchronised swimmer.
Being an optimist myself, I have always chosen to focus on the bright side of things, on the things that I could change and improve. Thus, I would like to share some ideas on how to focus on the good side of things and drive out those negative thoughts through three simple steps!
Basically, inside my mind. Being someone with anxiety disorder makes it hard for others to understand what really goes on in my mind because everyone has anxiety, but some have anxiety disorder. I found this list a long way back and had it saved as a note in my phone, waiting for someone that I got close enough to share with. Disappointingly, I couldn’t find anyone to share this with, so here it is. I did not write this, but I did find it humorous and maybe you can help someone in need.
Nobody wants to be sick. Nobody wants illnesses placed upon them. I recently got warded for being suicidal and my only night there was unpleasant – with the lack of electronics – it made my self-therapy difficult. I had to keep myself busy and there were no opportunities for me to do so.
Us versus them – that’s the short answer. Stigma only exists because we want to be on the side of the majority, the side of what is “right” – or what we perceive as right anyway – the side which is accepted by the same majority they want to be part of.
Some see it as a sensitive topic when they want to ask about my experience with mental illness, but honestly, I like it. Apart from just offering a different perspective, sharing with them my experience and answering questions forces me to reflect on my past.
I didn’t want to wake up. I was having a much better time asleep. And that’s really sad. It was almost like a reverse nightmare, like when you wake up from a nightmare you’re so relieved. I woke up into a nightmare. ― Ned Vizzini, It’s Kind of a Funny Story
Remember that depression isn’t just a mental illness – It used to drive me mad that Rob wouldn’t get out of bed. It took a while to realise that he “couldn’t” rather than “wouldn’t”. I was so sure he would feel better if he came out for a walk or met his friends, but depression is a physical illness, too. As Dr Cain says: “Physically, depression impacts energy levels. People sometimes feel very tired and want to stay in bed all the time.”
What struck me in the above extract was Mattew’s sense of powerlessness and lack of control over his relapse, recovery and treatment journey in the health and family system. We want every individual in Singapore to have a safe space to reach out and tell his/her story. To have one’s emotions and experiences held tight. We want to create a community that validates not only the joy and triumphs of life, but also the pain and secret shames embedded in your personal journeys.
Many of us have gambled before, but some of us can control it, whereas there are some who cannot control it. Therefore, it becomes an addiction. Addiction to gambling is very, very, extremely difficult to cure. Many people, when they get hooked, cannot quit the addiction. Many of these gamblers carry on the gambling lifestyle even until their death! This means that in their life, most of the time is all about gambling. Even most of their hard earned money goes to gambling.
But what if other people don’t see it that way? What if they don’t take me seriously anymore? What if they doubt my competence? This doesn’t just apply to employers, but future clients as well. Would people trust a counsellor like me? Nonetheless, I will not stop writing about mental health. I will not stop fighting stigma. It is a life goal of mine I am not willing to give up.