Thank you. I feel humbled to be here today amongst the many individuals who have shown courage, strength and persistence in their advocacy efforts.
Actually, I did what anyone in my position would have done. A person once beset with severe mental illness, having suffered and recovered, I can only feel amazed at the extent of my recovery. Having lost and then having regained my mind, and as such, my ability to communicate and to express myself, I feel extremely fortunate. Given this understanding of my journey to wellness, and armed with the knowledge that my experience could be used for the benefit of others, how could I not want to share my story and by doing so, be of value to others?
In my talks, articles and interviews, I also hope, in my small way, to share about the need for greater awareness, interest and discussion concerning mental health issues. 1 in 10 persons in Singapore will have a mental health issue in their lifetime. Yet, not enough people are aware that if it does happen, if mental illness strikes, that recovery is possible and that people who recover are able to function effectively and do what anyone else can. And there is not enough information out there about what we can do, in our everyday encounters with persons who seem to be having an untreated mental health issue.
As a consequence of untreated mental illness in addition to stigma, the economic and social burden of mental illness to society is great. The collective efforts of the community are needed to tackle this burden. I therefore appeal to people to support, contribute to and collaborate on mental health advocacy projects and activities. More needs to be done to spread the word, to raise awareness and to generate more discussion.