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Family members should persuade the mentally ill to seek help early

The Compassvale Crescent home tragedy case in the High Court last week ("Delusional retiree, 69, slashes wife to death", The New Paper, Sept 9) again highlighted the importance of seeking treatment for mental illness early.

The man who killed his wife with a knife and a chopper on March 13 last year suffered psychotic delusions.

It is important that family members watch out for signs of mental illness and persuade the person to go for psychiatric evaluation early and get proper treatment.

It will help if people have a better understanding of mental illness.

Perhaps we can explore the possibility of making schoolchildren more aware of mental illness in family members.

They can then help the mentally ill and those in distress by calling the Institute of Mental Health helpline or contacting the Samaritans of Singapore.

Grassroots leaders and government agencies can also collaborate with community centres and educational institutions to give talks on mental illness.

People who have recovered from a mental illness and are living normally with their family members can be invited to give such talks.

This can also be done through the media, such as with regular programmes on television.

When we all have a better understanding of mental illness, and people can spot the warning signs early and get patients to seek treatment, we can hopefully prevent some of these tragedies.

EUNICE LI DAN YUE