More awareness of mental disorders needed in Singapore: Study

More awareness of mental disorders needed in Singapore: Study

Results from a nationwide study show that recognition for disorders like Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and schizophrenia is relatively poor, and that many still perceive these conditions as a sign of personal weakness.

SINGAPORE: A nationwide study has shown that there is a critical need to create more awareness for mental disorders such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and schizophrenia in Singapore.

The study, called The Mind Matters: A Study of Mental Health Literacy, was conducted among adult residents aged 18 to 65 years. Started in 2014 and spearheaded by the Institute of Mental Health, the study obtained information on people’s recognition and beliefs about five common mental disorders - alcohol abuse, dementia, Major Depressive Disorder, OCD and schizophrenia.

The study found that across the five disorders, recognition was highest for dementia (66.3 per cent), followed by alcohol abuse (57.1 per cent) and Major Depressive Disorder (55.2 per cent). Recognition was poorer for OCD (28.7 per cent) and schizophrenia (11.5 per cent).

More than 88 per cent of those who were surveyed said seeking help from a psychiatrist would be helpful for someone with a mental illness.

There was also considerable personal stigma towards mental illness. The majority of those who participated in the study shared several common perceptions – that those with mental health issues could get better "if they wanted to", the problem is a "sign of personal weakness" and people with such disorders are "unpredictable".

As such, researchers suggested a need for well-planned and culturally relevant anti-stigma campaigns. Qualitative studies are also needed to better understand the ethnic differences in the perception of stigma, researchers said.

Source: CNA/hs