Mental health centre opens in Yishun

SINGAPORE - The opening of a new mental health centre in Yishun yesterday is a welcome boost for people like David, who used a similar support facility when he suffered a relapse from depression two years ago.

The 39-year-old, who was first diagnosed about 20 years ago, disliked his job as a finance administrator as he could not deal with what he felt were unrealistic demands.

His parents added to the stress with their constant nagging - which David says was their way of expressing concern.

Feeling that he had reached the end of the road, David sought help at a hospital, where he stayed for a week. After being treated and discharged, a doctor referred him to a support scheme offered by the Singapore Anglican Community Services (SACS).

Under the Community Rehabilitation and Support Service, David received home visits from counsellors a few times a month. He was also invited to take part in activities available at a centre, so that he could socialise and pick up new skills.

The aim of SACS' scheme is to help mental health patients like David re-integrate into society.

Yesterday, its third mental health centre was officially opened in Yishun by Mr K. Shanmugam, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Law and an MP for Nee Soon GRC.

The other two centres, also opened with the support of the Health Ministry and National Council of Social Service, are at Bukit Batok and Pasir Ris.

The newest centre, at Block 707 in Yishun Avenue 5, includes a day activity centre. Mental health patients are invited to take part in classes in computer skills, cooking, and arts and crafts.

The centre helps mental health patients readjust into daily life, and also monitors their recovery in the community.

Having benefited from the scheme, David is now working at the centre as an intern.

Said the bachelor: "I was inspired by how the counsellors there helped me. Being able to help others, and seeing other patients get better, gives me a sense of satisfaction."

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