Voices of Youth: Social stigma attached to mental health issues must be dispelled

It is not uncommon to overhear conversations in hushed tones along school corridors that someone has cuts on his wrists.

But despite the rising prevalence of mental health issues, what I find dismal is that cries for help are sometimes dismissed as "attention seeking".

The Interagency Taskforce on Mental Health and Well-Being is having a public consultation to seek views on its recommendations to enhance the mental health and well-being of Singaporeans.

I find it heartening that some of its recommendations focus on strengthening services and support for the mental well-being of young people. They include promoting the healthy use of social media and making healthcare services for young people more accessible.

However, social stigma attached to mental health issues is prevalent and deters many from seeking help.

Thus, in addition to increasing awareness, I believe it is essential to help young people understand mental health issues to undermine such social stigma.

It is important that young people can discern the credibility of resources when seeking information, so they are not misled by online sources that misrepresent mental health issues.

This can be done by conducting yearly programmes in schools that educate youth on how to analyse information on mental health and what stance to take when addressing mental health issues.

By correcting misinformation, we can reduce the social stigma attached to mental health issues.

Shen Enjia, 18

JC2 student

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