In recent years, much effort has been made by various organisations, individuals, and policy makers to raise awareness and reduce stigma around mental health. In your opinion, is this good enough and what more can be done?
If I look back over the past 20 years – yes, we have come quite some way in the areas of better awareness of mental health issues and reducing stigma. I remember some of the early efforts to get our community to better understand mental health issues and to reduce stigma with the hope that more will come forward to seek professional help. Ms Tina Hung from NCSS was instrumental in challenging SACS to do more for mental health work soon after I took over chairing the work; (Hsieh) Fu Hua connected with me (around 2010) and together with Tina we discussed ways to engage policy makers and identify gaps and then see how these could be met. Concurrently we also looked to strengthen service providers and broaden the number service providers. One result was the founding of CAL.
As with many things in life – there is always more that can be done – needs to be done. The area of stigma is still needing continuing education and awareness. I would like to see the day when our community will not resist getting treatment at IMH. We are witnessing more individuals speak openly on their mental health challenges – being more open – and this will help others.