People with mental illness often face many prejudices. Professor Kua Ee Heok from the Department of Psychological Medicine at NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine has been fighting to eliminate the stigma and discrimination faced by people suffering from mental health issues for the past few decades.
While his initial plan was to specialise in paediatrics after graduating from medical school, Prof Kua decided to study psychiatry instead after meeting two war veterans still traumatised by World War I. One of them had witnessed his friend’s head blown off.
Prof Kua also recounted how one of his patients who used to fight in the jungles of Betong in southern Thailand as a member of the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) suffered from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder but has since recovered after treatments.
This reinforces Prof Kua’s belief in the cause that he has spent his entire life championing: There is no health without mental health, and that change is possible.