Dr. Lee Cheng
Dr Lee Cheng came from humble beginnings. As a child, he used to sell rice dumplings made by his mother; and if there were any leftovers, the dumplings would be their dinner. No one talked about mental health then as the only worry was having food on the table at mealtimes. He recalled a neighbour singing to herself loudly and a schoolmate being absent from school for a prolonged period. Only in later years did he realise that mental illness was the cause of their behaviour.
Today, there are still many who do not understand much about mental health. It is therefore important to increase the mental health literacy of the public and dispel the myths and misconceptions surrounding mental illness. Although mental health information may be widely available, such information is either available in English or may not be relevant locally. An increase in mental health knowledge can change a person’s attitude and promote early help-seeking behaviour. That was why Dr Lee Cheng, Psychiatrist and a Senior Consultant at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH), Singapore, has been actively conducting interviews for the media as well as voluntarily writing for a local Chinese evening paper since 2016. Although the column is specifically targeted at elderly Chinese readers, he is determined to reach out to all!