Teach students how to handle psychological issues

We can generally agree that Singapore's education system does exceptionally well in providing students with rich academic knowledge, churning out competent and efficient employees required for the improvement of our economy.

Nonetheless, there is a dire need to think about what's next for the education system.

As we continue to progress as a nation, let us not forget the importance of looking out for one another's well-being and creating a truly conducive environment for all to learn optimally.

We must not continue to avoid taboo topics, such as psychological ailments which may be afflicting any one of our peers.

Much like physical illnesses, psychological issues can cripple students' ability to learn.

Beyond that, they can cripple students' ability to live, giving them a severely negative outlook on life and causing them to withdraw from the people and environment around them.

Prolonged self-withdrawal in an individual is a dangerous state to be in, worsening the problem which might be a small one initially.

More can and should be done in teaching students how to handle psychological ailments such as depression or eating disorders.

There is a natural tendency for people to keep such personal issues to themselves, for fear of being ostracised.

While counsellors and helplines are available for students in school, it would serve them well if there could be weekly lessons or sharing sessions conducted in class to educate them more about these problems.

Such sessions could also serve as a platform for students to share their feelings. Finding out that their peers face similar problems may be a huge encouraging factor, as it quickly eliminates the feeling of being alone in their internal battles.

As one who has gone through depression before, I can vouch for the severe pain of being in such a state.

I remember weeks and months passing by without a single moment of joy or excitement. Family and friends became mere strangers, while I transformed from a happy-go-lucky character to a pessimistic soul, devoid of any positive feelings.

No one should have to suffer these internal conflicts alone. Let us embrace the fact that there is among our peers an unknown number of individuals fighting such battles.

After all, a good education system teaches us how to learn.

A great education system teaches us how to live.

Tang Chung Theng