Man stabs brother over milk
Man with schizoaffective disorder ordered to undergo treatment after attack
He stabbed his older brother just because the latter did not do him a favour.
According to Mr Soh Jun Wei, 22, their mother had asked him to pass some milk to Soh Wei Lin, 20. He did not do so as he was reading a book.
His brother, who is unemployed, then took a knife and stabbed him in his abdomen.
Soh Wei Lin was given a two-year mandatory treatment order (MTO) yesterday after pleading guilty to one count of voluntarily causing hurt.
An MTO is for offenders who suffer from psychiatric conditions.
Those ordered to undergo MTO have to go for psychiatric treatment in lieu of jail time.
The court heard that Soh had schizoaffective disorder when he committed the offence in their flat at New Upper Changi Road at around 7pm on Feb 5 last year.
A publication on the College of Family Physicians Singapore's website stated that schizoaffective disorders are characterised by recurring episodes of mood and psychotic symptoms.
Deputy Public Officer (DPP) Kong Kuek Foo said the victim went home from a jog at around 6pm that day and was reading in the living room.
His brother arrived home at around the same time.
According to their mother, Madam Ou Lanmei, 55, Soh said he had also returned from a jog and asked her for some milk.
She prepared the drink at around 6.30pm and left it on a living room table.
The victim said their mother then asked him to pass the milk to his brother, but he did not do so.
Angry, Soh took a 32cm-long knife and stabbed his brother's abdomen.
Their older brother called for an ambulance and the victim was taken to Changi General Hospital.
Mr Soh suffered a 2cm stab wound near his navel.
He went through surgery and was discharged two days later.
For voluntarily causing hurt, Soh could have been jailed up to two years and fined up to $5,000.
CARING FOR PEOPLE WITH MENTAL ILLNESS
Report by RONALD LOH and DARRYL LAIU
Caring for a schizophrenic family member is like walking through a minefield, but that does not mean caregivers should give up.
That was what Mr Raymond Anthony Fernando, 66, author of Loving A Schizophrenic - a book based on his late wife - advised fellow caregivers.
His wife, Madam Doris Lau Siew Lang, was diagnosed with schizophrenia when she was 17. She died in 2014 at the age of 61.
Mr Fernando stuck by her and cared for her for about 40 years, even giving up his job at the then Singapore Broadcasting Corporation in 2001 to care for her full time.
"It was physically, emotionally and financially draining.
"I had to sleep with the door keys under my pillow to make sure she did not wander out at night," he said.
"The most important lesson for caregivers is to seek help for yourself if you need it. Talk to your MP, or a nearby Family Service Centre."
Dr Brian Yeo, a consultant psychiatrist at Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre, said the biggest challenge for caregivers is the stigma of having a mentally-ill family member.
A study by the Institute of Mental Health found that five out of 10 people believe mental illness is a sign of personal weakness, reported The Straits Times last October.
Said Dr Yeo: "It's sometimes not easy to talk about mental illness. When others don't know about it, the caregiver may feel very isolated and is thus unable to ask for help."
But he pointed out that these conditions are illnesses and that treatment is possible.
He also advised caregivers to look for early signs of relapse such as the hearing of more voices, frequent delusions, and the person becoming more withdrawn or violent.
"Ensure they are on their medication as this will keep their illness under control and prevent relapses," he said.
Mr Fernando said: "Caring for a mentally-ill family member is not a burden - it's a responsibility. You never know when they might relapse, but you never stop loving them."
BY THE numbers
Number of calls, at least, to the Institute of Mental Health helpline in 2014, up from 9,800 calls in 2013.
4 most common diagnoses at IMH
- Schizophrenic disorders
- Depressive disorder
- Reaction to severe stress
- Unspecified nonorganic psychosis
Institute of Mental Health
6389-2222 (24 hours)
Caregivers' Association of the Mentally Ill
6782-9371 (24 hours)
Samaritans of Singapore (SOS)
1800-221-4444 (24 hours)
Singapore Association for Mental Health
1800-283-7019 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm)
Touch Counselling & Social Support
(Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm)