The global mental health landscape has evolved tremendously in the past decade. Societies are seeing significant efforts put into educating and changing the public image of mental illness. However, the normalisation of mental illnesses comes with its benefits and dangers.
In this two-part episode 'Mental Health At Work', Dr Emily Ortega (Head of Psychology Programmes at SUSS School of Humanities and Behavioural Sciences) hosts Padma Jairam (Senior Psychologist, Institute of Mental Health) and Debra Lum (Co-Founder, Society Staples) to discuss the impact of mental health on the community.
When Singapore enforced the 2020 Circuit Breaker measures, the state of mental health amongst its residents was thrust into the media limelight. Padma and Debra believe this was a positive step in growing advocacy for mental health issues nationwide.
As a medical practitioner, Padma observes the increasing acceptance of mental health challenges amongst her patients, "More people are coming to IMH willingly, and when people know you're going there, there's a certain understanding that comes with it."
Easy access to digital technology today has also empowered many to seek an understanding and solutions for the conditions they face. Debra notes that social media platforms have helped promote the need for mental wellness and reduce stigma for mental illnesses.
Beyond families and the community, there is increasing support for mental health issues in the workplace. But experiences vary. In some instances, organisations mobilise outreach programs to affect change. In other cases, workers are still afraid to disclose their illnesses for fear of discrimination.
For workplace leaders, the challenge is to create a safe environment for staff with mental health conditions while helping them navigate work demands.