Generation Grit

Desire to care for mentally ill mum led to his career choice

When he was 7, Mr Rayson Choo's mother ran away from home. She was suffering from schizophrenia, but he only realised it after he took up nursing in polytechnic. Today, he works as a psychiatric nurse at the Institute of Mental Health.
As a child, Mr Rayson Choo was ashamed of his mother. But since he became a psychiatric nurse, he is better able to deal with her when she acts up. Mother and son now enjoy a close relationship and he takes her out at least once a week.
As a child, Mr Rayson Choo was ashamed of his mother. But since he became a psychiatric nurse, he is better able to deal with her when she acts up. Mother and son now enjoy a close relationship and he takes her out at least once a week.PHOTO: LIN ZHAOWEI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

At a young age, Mr Rayson Choo learnt that his mother's outbursts were a result of schizophrenia. Now a psychiatric nurse, Mr Choo tells The Straits Times that he is determined to take better care of her despite the challenges.

When he was seven years old, his mother ran away from home and Mr Rayson Choo and his father, a security guard, spent weeks scouring the island hoping to find her.

"My father was frantic, and we even made a police report," said Mr Choo, 28. "I wasn't sure what was going on. I only knew that my mum wasn't coming home. I was crying, upset and afraid."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 09, 2018, with the headline 'Desire to care for mentally ill mum led to his career choice'. Print Edition | Subscribe