Forum: Efforts to dispel stigma surrounding mental illness

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Films, such as Joker, and various forms of media can powerfully influence and change perceptions on mental health when people with mental health conditions are portrayed correctly in them (Mental illness is real and serious, Nov 4).

These films and media can be useful conversation starters to promote discussions on how individuals can better understand persons with mental health issues and dispel the stigma surrounding them.

Anyone can be affected by mental illness. Unfortunately, myths, misunderstandings and negative stereotypes continue to surround mental illness, leading to stigma, discrimination and isolation of people with mental health conditions.

We believe that public education is the key to dispelling the stigma that surrounds mental health conditions.

In commemoration of World Mental Health Day last month, the Singapore Association for Mental Health (SAMH) launched a social media campaign in the form of a mini Web series at the end of the month. Entitled Unboxing, this three-part Web series aligns with Beyond The Label, a national movement to address stigma faced by persons with mental health conditions in society.

The series aims to debunk some of the stereotypes that surround mental illness and we hope these videos can reach out to more Singaporeans.

SAMH works with partners in the community to improve the lives of people with mental health issues and provide support to their families and caregivers.

Mental illness can be treated. We hope the public can help us spread this important message so that individuals with mental health conditions can look forward to leading a normal life with the right treatment, and their caregivers and loved ones can be spared much heartache and stress.

Ngo Lee Yian

Executive Director

Singapore Association for Mental Health

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 07, 2019, with the headline 'Efforts to dispel stigma surrounding mental illness'. Subscribe