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#JamesDonaldson on #MentalHealth – Encourage Ground-Up Conversations On #MentalHealth, #Suicide

Posed photo of a person with depression.
Posed photo of a person with depression

It is heartening to see relatively more conversations on #mentalhealth and #suicide taking place.

But we should be careful not to let the narrative be dictated by politicians, government, public agencies and institutions.

In recent parliamentary hearings, there were questions by Nominated MP Anthea Ong on statistical data of student suicides.

Education Minister Ong Ye Kung said that Singapore’s #suicide numbers are not high by international standards.

The gravity of the #mentalhealthcrisis and #suicide issues should not be trivialised through benchmarking, nor should it be reduced to mere numbers and analysed statistically.

Beyond public consultations through online surveys, there should be more on-the-ground dialogue and empathetic listening to the sufferers.

The imposition of top-down approaches and interpretations of what the authorities and the institutions feel is “best” for the sufferer should be discouraged.

Rather, we should empower sufferers to articulate their problems and the solutions they require.

#JamesDonaldson notes:

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

We should stop dismissing the stories of the sufferer and building a culture of communicative silence among the sufferers.

While all segments of society play a part in ensuring inclusivity, the role of the authorities is important in removing the #stigma associated with #mentalhealthissues, through legislation, messaging and forging a listening culture.

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