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“Singapore is truly one of the worst places for mental health”, Netizen addresses MOE’s “resilience” statement following River Valley High killing

I think these students need a lot more than praise for 'resilience' and some stickers. It’s very upsetting to see that they still have to go back to school... That tells us just how much their trauma has been ignored, said the netizen.

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A netizen has recently addressed what she believes to be Singapore’s ranking when it comes to a national handle on mental health, saying the nation is “one of the worst places for mental health.

This followed the recent killing at a secondary school where a sixteen-year-old murdered a thirteen-year-old allegedly with an axe and the Director-General of the Ministry of Education Wong Siew Hoong’s statement two days after the incident, saying the fact that 97 per cent of students had already returned to school was “resilience.”

Though Mr Wong discussed the measures and support being provided by the MOE following the incident that shocked Singapore, a Twitter user with the handle @KabilaThiagaraj responded, saying, “Ignoring your mental health for success is not resilience. It’s awful.” She then urged whoever may need a break to go and take one. “Your mental health is the most important thing.”

The Independent reached out to her and asked her to expound on her statements, to which she expressed her willingness to do so.

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She credited Singapore’s “emphasis on success” and the connotation she believes many Asian cultures still have towards mental health as key reasons as to why it is overlooked. “Many Asian cultures tend to take mental health as a joke,” she said, “or think that young people are ‘just weak.’ So if you ask most older people in Singapore, they’ll say people are depressed because they don’t exercise, or that people have anxiety because they aren’t well prepared.

When asked what she thinks Singapore can do to address this pressing issue, she cited an increase in national efforts, the inclusion of mental health in insurance plans, as well as the accessibility of mental health day-offs. “I think it’s also very important to teach the older generation about mental health and how you can’t just chase depression by eating more fruits and vegetables.”

She also cited experiences that were shared with her by other netizens. “I’ve also seen comments on my posts that say that their mental health professionals are not helpful at all,” she wrote. “This isn’t the first time I’ve heard someone in Singapore say that. I think we should definitely look into that and try to find out why so many people think the professionals are inadequate.”

Finally, since her tweet addressed the specific issue, when asked about her take on how officials handled the River Valley High killing, this is what she had to say:

“I think it’s really upsetting to see that these teenagers’ trauma isn’t being taken seriously. I think these students need a lot more than praise for ‘resilience’. It’s very upsetting to see that they still have to go back to school, and it’s also absolutely disgusting that adults have been camping outside their schools to take pictures of them. That tells us just how much their trauma has been ignored.”

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The tweet has garnered over 2,800 retweets on Twitter since the time of its publication. /TISG

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