Reporter's take

Causes Week 2017: Worthwhile effort to tackle stigmas and help vulnerable groups

Today, The Straits Times is featuring two causes related to rehabilitation and recovery.

Tamar Village is a restoration centre in Geylang for former sex workers, while arts collective Unsaid has made an effort to raise awareness of mental illness. Their good work will go some way towards tackling stigmas and making those who are part of vulnerable groups feel less alone.

Two years ago, the Institute of Mental Health revealed that nine in 10 people believe that those with a mental illness "could get better if they wanted to". Half of those surveyed said these problems are "a sign of personal weakness".

Having such simplistic attitudes towards those with mental health issues - let alone former sex workers - does no one any favours. And it could cause some to avoid seeking help. More can be done to raise awareness of the issues and better understand what these groups face.

Mrs Mercy Ho, the head of Tamar Village, said it takes a "village" - the long road to recovery is often easier when you have a group of people cheering you on, or simply being there to offer a listening ear.

Here is to trying to be a kinder and more compassionate society, one where we do not write people off simply because they are fighting battles we know nothing about.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 06, 2017, with the headline Causes Week 2017: Worthwhile effort to tackle stigmas and help vulnerable groups. Subscribe