Silver Ribbon Singapore, NLB collaborate to remove mental illness stigma

The National Library Board (NLB) and Silver Ribbon Singapore hope to raise awareness and remove the stigma associated with mental illnesses, through their collaboration, now into its second year.

Silver Ribbon Singapore is an organisation that aims to combat mental health stigma and help to integrate those with mental illness into community.

The collaboration is in line with celebrating World Mental Health Day, which falls on 10 October.

A study concluded last year by Singapore Mental Health Study showed that more than one in 10 people in Singapore will be stricken with mental illness in their lifetime.

The collaboration, which includes photo and art exhibitions at Jurong East Regional Library, was launched by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Grace Fu.

And throughout the month of October, members of the public will be able to take part in quizzes and win book vouchers by borrowing four books, with at least one book on mental health.

NLB’s assistant director for Library Services & Management, Jasna Dhansukhlal, said: “Libraries are a very good community space that attract library users from all walks of life, from all age groups. They find our book displays on mental health interesting, as well as they get the chance to see some of the exhibitions you see here to learn more about the services, things they can do to improve their mental health.”

Silver Ribbon Singapore (SRS) said Singapore has still some way to go in breaking stereotypes associated with people who are diagnosed with mental illnesses.

President of SRS, Dr Lee Cheng: “Awareness among the public has definitely increased, but I personally feel there is still a stigma, or there is still a resistance in getting help. There is still room for improvement. We want to work with other organisations – schools, grassroots organisations – we must collaborate together so that we can reach the wider public.”

Mental health advocate Yee Yung Jen, who was diagnosed with depression four years ago, hopes the collaboration creates a greater awareness of mental illness among the public.

Yee said: “Mental illness is curable, and that people are not crazy, or cannot work at all. I’m a real-life example, that I’m under maintenance, and I’m well, and can do anything. I hope that employers will employ people with mental illness on a part-time basis for a start, to actually monitor their progress.”

Throughout October, all 23 libraries islandwide will have World Mental Health Day corners, where the public can access books and DVDs on mental health,or pen positive thoughts and share with other library members.

This article was first published in CNA