An uphill task fighting stigma over mental health issues

Mr Newbigging says fighting the stigma linked to mental health issues requires dedication, endurance and support.
Mr Newbigging says fighting the stigma linked to mental health issues requires dedication, endurance and support.PHOTO: MINDSET CARE

The long and lonely fight against stigma that people with mental health issues face can be akin to the endurance needed to dash up a towering skyscraper.

That is why some 250 people, including office workers and Senior Minister of State (Culture, Community and Youth; and Trade and Industry) Sim Ann, woke up early yesterday morning to race or walk up all 33 storeys of the Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower 1.

"The fight against the stigma associated with individuals having mental health issues is like this race... it requires dedication, endurance and support," said Mr Alex Newbigging, chairman of Mindset Care, the charity behind the project.

The vertical race was held to raise funds for a job training and placement centre dedicated to people recovering from mental health issues. The event raised $365,000 for the centre in Jurong East - called Mindset Learning Hub - which was launched last month.

It is the first centre here that offers mental wellness programmes on top of accredited job training courses to equip those with mental illness to help them prepare for and land jobs.

The facility has seen 57 trainees complete their courses and it aims to train up to 300 people a year.

The hub is a collaboration between the Singapore Association for Mental Health and Mindset Care, a charity supported by Jardine Matheson Group.

There was also a carnival that saw Jardine staff and their families and friends mingling with 400 clients from mental health voluntary welfare organisations.

Janice Tai

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 14, 2016, with the headline 'An uphill task fighting stigma over mental health issues'. Print Edition | Subscribe