Share stories of mental-illness sufferers to promote understanding

I agree with Ms Sukriti Drabu that today's skewed attitude towards mental illness tends to put the blame on the sufferer himself ("Raise awareness of realities mental-illness sufferers face"; Wednesday).

With World Mental Health Day next Monday, we should beef up public education about certain deep-seated myths and misconceptions about mental illnesses.

The Institute of Mental Health publishes a quarterly newsletter to inform the public on matters of mental illnesses.

Personal stories penned by patients are included.

However, the newsletter does not seem to have a wide base of readership, other than the patients themselves and their family members involved in their care.

The personal stories are highly uplifting and could potentially remove much of the stigma society has against mental illnesses, if more people could gain access to them.

There have been calls for legislation to stop employers from asking applicants to declare if they have a mental illness in job application forms and to employ them nevertheless ("Call to remove mental health query on job forms"; Sept 27, "Ask about applicant's ability to work instead" by Ms Jacelyn Chia Yee Fang, and "Give young people with special needs a fair chance" by Madam Liew Yuen Ping; both published on Wednesday).

If this materialises, we can better support mental-illness sufferers in their rehabilitation and reintegration, as an inclusive society.

Lee Kay Yan (Miss)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 08, 2016, with the headline 'Share stories of mental-illness sufferers to promote understanding'. Print Edition | Subscribe