All can play a part in helping the mentally ill

People should be educated about mental illness, in whatever form, so that the stigma attached to it can be removed ("Reaching out to the mentally ill"; Nov 24).

The question is: How do we help those suffering from mental illness?

The sufferers themselves may not be aware of their conditions, not to mention how and where to seek help.

Sad to say, most of these people suffer at home and do not know what to do.

Traditional families might think that something evil has entered the sick person's body.

The sufferers or their families may also be put off by the medical fees.

Teachers, colleagues, friends and neighbours have a role to play.

They are the ones who can raise the alarm and advise those with a mental health issue or their families to seek help.

Social workers should also be involved and provide follow-up action to make sure the patients continue to receive treatment.

The public should be educated on mental illness and its symptoms through talks, seminars, brochures and posters.

Society must be compassionate towards those with mental health issues.

We must accept them and help them as much as we can, so as to be a caring First World society.

Koek Hup Kwee