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Her thoughts were suicidal every day, she tried to live twice, till January this year. Due to her deteriorating mental health, Jennie (not her real name), 19, had to leave school twice – first from junior high school, and then from private international school. The case of the Singaporean is no different.

South Africa’s suicide was the leading death cause for people aged 10-29, according to the 2019 Samaritan statistics.After receiving her parents’ support and the first two conditions were diagnosed as depression, panic disorders, dysthymia (chronic depression) and borderline personality disorder.

It was crucial that her parents got behind her, even though Jennie felt overwhelmed at first. She was just a child, and she was afraid that she could share her mental difficulties with her father, a businessman in his fifties, and mother who is in her fifties and serves as bank manager.

“I was scared they would not understand, and I did not want to disappoint them,” she told The New Paper.

“I was scared they would not understand, and I did not want to disappoint them,” she told The New Paper.

Last July, when Jennie had two panic attacks, she decided to seek help and opened her doors to them. Her father, who reacted defensively and thought she blamed him for her battles, met her unforeseen anger. Mother Jennie was more open and supportive and actively scanned the Internet for help from psychotherapists. As Jennie’s parents took care of her, they got too closely involved in trying to help her and life became overwhelming.

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“They micromanaged me, which caused me so much stress and worsened my mental health,” she said.

Eventually, her therapist invited Jennie’s parents to family therapy and explained her diagnosis, linking disorder symptoms with her behavior.Through her therapist Jennie then asked that her parents “won’t go on egg shells” and be more aware of her feelings.
“I hoped they would stop treating me like a patient and more like a daughter,” Jennie said.

Today, the family never shies away from a conversation regarding Jennie’s mental well-being.

Parents Play Hard Part
Image Source: The New Paper


Elaine Lek, 57, who in 2018 suicidated her 17-year-old son, urged parents to avoid shunning by asking their children about feelings and mental health.
She said of her son: “I wish he was more open about his pain. I would have wanted to understand the dark thoughts he was having.”

In recognition of the Zen Dylan Koh Fund, which supports young people with mental health problems in her son, Ms Lek co-founded the PlaaseStay movement, together to other suicidally-bearing mothers, and started it also.

“Many parents try to rationalise their children’s mental health struggles, but they are not as obviously identifiable as physical illnesses,” she said.

“The youth want their parents to listen and show empathy, not dismiss them or try to give them a solution.”
Jennie’s parents learned about mental health problems after taking part in family therapy. With their actions and words, you have become more sensitive and have learned to respect the space of your daughter.

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They even talk about mental health to family and friends.
Jennie, who is starting on a foundation programme at a private school in August, said: “I feel that they have grown with me. This whole experience has taught them how to care for a loved one who is struggling and be more understanding of others in a similar plight.

“I am thankful that I confided in them as it played a part in my family’s growth.”

Source: The New Paper

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