July 2019 Pulse
In 2014, the Institute of Mental Health in Singapore conducted a study involving adult residents aged between 18 and 65 years. Entitled, The Mind Matters: A study of Mental Health Literacy this study sought to obtain information about the general population’s beliefs about mental disorders. The study gathered information on public perception of five common conditions: alcohol abuse, dementia, Major Depressive Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and schizophrenia. In terms of general public awareness and recognition of these disorders, the highest is for dementia (66.3 per cent). In second place was alcohol abuse (57.1 per cent), followed by Major Depressive Disorder (55.2 percent). The poorest recognition was OCD (28.7 per cent) and schizophrenia (11.5 percent). In addition, the study also uncovered considerable social stigma towards mental illness. For example, some opined that people with mental health issues could get better ‘if they wanted to.’ Others said that mental illness is a ‘sign of personal weakness’ and that people with mental disorders are ‘unpredictable’.
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Dr Roland Chia is Chew Hock Hin Professor of Christian Doctrine at Trinity Theological College and Theological and Research Advisor for the Ethos Institute for Public Christianity.