Congratulations to Ipoh Echo for an excellent coverage on Mental Health in its December 1-15, 2014 Issue 202.
The move from custodial care to the community is a welcomed one and its realisation would be greatly facilitated by the involvement of caregivers and clients.
This is not easy to enlist as families are often reluctant to reach out, preferring to keep a low profile to avoid discrimination, prejudice and stigmatization.
For families to venture out for support, they look to acceptance, compassion and respect from the community.
I wish to share one way this has been attempted.
My son, who manages his mental health condition very well, has been distributing the Ipoh Echo since 2011. This is carried out in public places such as the Health Clinic, coffee shops as well as in the neighbourhood where we live.
This project has been empowering in many ways. Social skills are also improved as relationships, intangible but valuable in ways often not anticipated, are built up.
A recent happy encounter in a coffee shop revealed that a neighbour and her husband were there to try the laksa after reading the review in the Echo. The paper has been regularly delivered in their post box by my son.
Perhaps much of the stigma and misconceptions of mental illness can be transformed by such everyday methods.
Carers Connect (formerly KAMI)