“Mental illnesses – even a common disorder like depression – is rarely talked about” (Gone In Their Prime, Miss Joy Fang).
I refer to Miss Joy Fang’s article, “Gone In Their Prime” (September 2, 2009).
It is indeed a great pity to hear about the plethora of Korean celebrity suicides, not only because of the vast amounts of potential and talent going down the drain, but because of the possible ramifications on societies and individuals, particularly the staunch fans and followers of these celebrities. The idea of “glamourising” suicide as a way out is a terrifying concept; and many might be misled by the belief that stress, guilt and shame are justified imperatives for suicide. In this sense celebrities, like all of us, have a moral responsibility to ensure that we do not entertain thoughts of giving up and suicide.
Earlier this year, TIME Magazine ran an excellent article entitled “Deadly Business”. The author observed a symbiotic relationship between economic downturns and the suicide rates in Asia. There are many reasons for this, but the pressures of unemployment and the stress to make ends meet are often justifications for the spike in suicide rates. Indeed, in the midst of a recession, these trigger factors are aplenty. Nevertheless, it is crucial for individuals to keep the faith and remain strong, and believe that the best days are ahead of us. This has been a challenging phase for many, but suicide should never be the way out.
The Health Promotion Board is currently running a series of advertisements, reminding Singaporeans to remain positive and optimistic – an excellent initiative. Perhaps the Government could complement this “emotional booster” by boosting existing, tangible measures to help those most affected by the recession. Many programmes are already in place, but it would not hurt for additional enhancements; for every little effort and help would be greatly appreciated and encouraging.
It is during these telling times that we must remain resolute and mentally-strong; not just for ourselves, but for our family and friends. The road ahead might be a tumultuous one, but help would always be there for all of us.
A version of this article was published in My Paper.