It Changed My Life: There's no health without mental health, says Prof Kua Ee Heok

Professor Kua Ee Heok was a psychiatrist at what was then Woodbridge Hospital, where he saw the prejudice and stigma associated with mental illness. Over the next four decades, he dedicated his life to changing misconceptions about mental health.
Professor Kua Ee Heok helped to rebrand Woodbridge Hospital as the Institute Of Mental Health (IMH), and served as its first CEO for three years. He firmly believes that change is possible when people with mental health issues are treated.
Professor Kua Ee Heok helped to rebrand Woodbridge Hospital as the Institute Of Mental Health (IMH), and served as its first CEO for three years. He firmly believes that change is possible when people with mental health issues are treated.ST PHOTO: GIN TAY
Professor Kua Ee Heok helped to rebrand Woodbridge Hospital as the Institute Of Mental Health (IMH), and served as its first CEO for three years. He firmly believes that change is possible when people with mental health issues are treated.
Above: Prof Kua's latest book, Speaking Up For Mental Illness, chronicles his decades of work in the field. PHOTO: COURTESY OF KUA EE HEOK
Left: Prof Kua's latest book, Speaking Up For Mental Illness, chronicles his decades of work in the field. Right: Prof Kua with his daughter Jade in Oxford in the 1980s. She is now a paediatric specialist.
Prof Kua with his daughter Jade in Oxford in the 1980s. She is now a paediatric specialist.PHOTO: COURTESY OF KUA EE HEOK

Kua Ee Heok has spent a lifetime battling against the stigma associated with mental illness

Some years ago, a Malaysian man in his 60s came to consult Professor Kua Ee Heok at the Neuroscience Clinic in the National University Hospital (NUH).

The man had heard that, like him, the professor hailed from Batu Pahat in Malaysia, but is now one of the most respected psychiatrists in Singapore.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 21, 2019, with the headline 'There can be no health without mental health'. Print Edition | Subscribe