May 2016 - Promises Healthcare
Mental Health and The Pink Dot

Mental Health and The Pink Dot

Pink dot

In the lead up to Singapore’s Pink Dot campaign, we would like to take the opportunity to help raise awareness of some of the major mental health issues faced by LGBTQ individuals globally. Here is our Q+A with psychologist Leeran Gold.

So what does LGBTQ stand for?

LGBT stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning. Questioning refers to individuals who does not yet identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Transgender, but are exploring and questioning their sexuality and/or gender identity.

Why should attention be given to LGBTQ issues in Singapore?

LGBT issues are relevant and important for us as a global community. In my home country of Australia, as well as here in Singapore, the issues faced by the LGBT community are significant. Why should we bring attention to these issues – so that we can empower people to do something about them. Many of the issues faced by LGBTQ individuals are caused by, and exacerbated due to ignorance, intolerance, and misinformation in the broader community. These are issues that can be addressed.

What are some of the main issues faced by the LGBTQ community?

LGBT youth are at increased risk of exposure to violence, including dating violence as well as physical and sexual assault. They are also at increased risk of suicide. One study in the US showed that LGB youth are twice as likely to attempt suicide than heterosexual peers. That’s a staggering statistic. On top of that, LGBTQ youth are more likely to develop depression, anxiety, and substance use disorders than their heterosexual peers. As a mental health professional it’s important to be aware of the issues facing this vulnerable population.

What else would you recommend for mental health professionals here in Singapore who might have clients grappling with their sexuality or gender identity?

I think one of the most important things is to explore your own views and opinions about the LGBTQ community. It is possible that one’s religious, cultural and political views might impact your therapeutic relationship with your client. This can have disastrous effects for the client who is already feeling ostracized by their family, peers, and society in general. You have to keep in mind that every human being is deserving of empathy, understanding, and unconditional positive regard. If you feel that your own views don’t allow for those therapeutic conditions, then refer your client to a place where they will be able to explore their sexuality and gender identity and be accepted for it. I would also recommend that professionals are sensitive to familial views, cultural background, and traditions, so they can better understand what their client is facing. Always seek out professional supervision if you are unsure of what to do.

Where can people go for more information?

You can contact me at the Promises clinic on +65 6397 7309 or email me at You can also access information on resources here at the Pink Dot website:

How Can I Help The Person I Love?

How Can I Help The Person I Love?



Family members and friends are often caught in the whirlwind of destruction that come with addiction. They are at a loss what to do. Do they disengage completely? Avoid all contact? Offer help? Do they try to clean up the mess? Give money? Arrange doctors, hospitals rehabs? Buy and dispense the medications? Make excuses to bosses, family members and friends? Minimize and normalize the behavior? Keep avoiding “the elephant in the room” and hope for the best? Keeping close tabs? Get angry? Punish? Sulk, nag, threaten and blackmail? Scream, cry, plead, beg? Their dilemma is filled with suffering.

But there is a solution! With help from an addictions professional, you can create and maintain your boundaries. You can learn to be both firm and reasonable. Compassionate and assertive. You can help without enabling. You can understand and accept your feelings. And you can learn to love yourself. You don’t have to carry the burden alone. At Promises Healthcare, we are committed to helping you through your journey to recovery. Discover a new life, away from addiction and find renewed hope. Please contact our clinic for confidential inquiries and consultations.

Written by: Andrew da Roza – Psychotherapist, Promise Healthcare


Understanding Addiction Series – What is Addiction?

Understanding Addiction Series – What is Addiction?

All compulsions, whether to substances or behaviors are usually characterized and observed to have 3 distinct elements for it to be classified as an addiction.

  1. There is preoccupation or obsession: The individuals spend a large amount of time thinking and planning towards acting out their behavior or to obtain substances. There is also an increased amount of finances used to continue the addiction.
  1. There is a loss of control: This usually means that the behavior has become compulsive in its nature. The individual is unable to stop and would have tried unsuccessfully to stop many times. The individual’s life begins to deteriorate but he or she may not admit to themselves and to others that their life has become unmanageable.
  1. There is a continuation of the use of substance or the performance of a behavior that results in negative consequences: This is where individuals tend to incur many losses from their addiction. Finances dry up, relationships become broken. There may be loss of work and emotional or physical difficulties begin taking over the individual’s life as the addiction grips a tighten on them.

Once these are observed, a person may be suffering from an addictive disorder. In addition to the above 3, another feature called tolerance tends to be present as well in addictive disorders. Tolerance basically means needing more of a substance or performance of a behavior to achieve the effect of a “high” in the brain.

As with individuals with a drug addiction they would need an increased amount of the drug to achieve the effect of the high as they become tolerant of the drug. The same is with a gambling disorder where greater risk or bets need to be played and the amount of time spent is much more longer as compared to when they first started gambling. With pornographic addiction, more explicit and arousing images are needed to maintain the fantasy. While the tolerance sets in, the experience of withdrawal begins if the substance or behavior isn’t engaged in. For an alcoholic, tremors may begin when the drinking stops. Irritability and loss of sleep starts taking over as the drug is not present. Thus the need to use over and over again. The chasing of a “high” and the cravings becomes all-consuming and the individual becomes wrapped in a cycle of self-destruction.

The individual’s family and friends would start noticing problems and will often confront the addicted individual. The person may become outright angry and irritated, or defensive if the addiction has been kept a secret. Many family and friends become helpless as they see their loved ones deteriorate.

If you know of anyone or if you might be having difficulties with addiction, do know that help is available. Seek an addictions counsellor or psychiatrist who can help you through treatment for your addiction. You are not alone and don’t need to live in isolation but live the life that you want and be free from the bondage of addiction. Recovery is possible. Contact us for a confidential enquiry today. To understand what causes addiction look out for the next article.

Written by: Jesudas Soundhraj – Counsellor, Promise Healthcare