Talks, booths and games to raise awareness for World Mental Health Day

SINGAPORE - The stigma surrounding mental illness often prevents people from seeking treatment, and could lead to unemployment, disability and even suicide.

To combat the stigma and commemorate World Mental Health Day, which fell on Oct 10 and is celebrated annually in over 100 countries, Silver Ribbon (Singapore) held three events at three locations on Sunday morning.

More than 3,000 residents at Hougang, Geylang Serai and Woodlands visited educational booths, heard talks on how to manage stress and played games to keep their brains active, such as rummy-o. Other activities included laughter yoga, music therapy and a taiji demonstration.

At Hougang, MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC Yeo Guat Kwang reminded residents that it was important to not just to be physically fit, but have a strong mind.

He also urged them to visit a centre in his constituency, Tze Hng Wellness Studio, that provides free counselling services for residents.

According to the Singapore Mental Health Study 2010, more than one in 10 people in Singapore will be stricken by mental illness in their lifetime, with depression being the most common. It is projected to affect 170,000 adults, with more women affected than men.

Madam Tan Poh Eng, 60, a cleaner, said she found the talks useful. "I exercise at Punggol Park every morning to keep myself healthy. I learned that it's also important for me to keep my brain active."

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