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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 leeran@promises.com.sg. You can also access information on resources here at the Pink Dot website: http://pinkdot.sg/community-groups/

Self-Harm Series – Part 3 –

Self-Harm Series – Part 3 –

What can I do to help my teen?
In addition to regular professional mental health support, here are some things you can do to help your teen:
– Show that you care
– Be non-judgmental
– Accept your teen’s feelings
– Suggest distractions
– Learn basic first aid
– Encourage them to communicate their feelings
– Ensure an authoritative balance in your parenting style

Avoid:
– Guilt trips
– Punishing your teen for self-harm

What can the school do to support my teen?
Ask to see your school’s policy on self-harm management. If your school does not have a policy, get in touch with your treating psychologist who can provide the school with resources and psycho-education. Make sure the school counselor sees your teen regularly, and that they are aware of any safety and risk issues.

If you suspect that your teen is self-harming, seek professional help as soon as possible. Contact Promises Healthcare for a confidential enquiry today.

If your teen is in any danger, contact your local ambulance service on 995. You can contact the Institute for Mental Health 24-hour hotline on 6389-2222.

This is part 3, of a series of 3 posts        Click here for Part 1     Click here for Part 2

Written by: Leeran Gold – Psychologist, Forensic Services, Promises Healthcare

Self-Harm Series – Part 2 –

Self-Harm Series – Part 2 –

Self-Harm

How do I know if my teen is self-harming?
Self-harming is usually a very private and secretive behavior. Teens may self-harm on areas of their bodies that are difficult to see. In some cases, teens may self-harm in more obvious areas including their wrists, ankles, arms and legs.
If you notice dressing or bandages, or cuts, bruises, burns and/or marks in these areas, your teen may be self-harming.
Other signs can include withdrawing from friends and family, excessive moodiness, increased irritability and anger outbursts, and changes in appetite and body weight.

Why is my teen self-harming?
Teens may self-harm in order to cope with stress. Self-harm can temporarily numb or relieve their distress, and can be a way of communicating their distress to others. Teens who self-harm often lack healthy coping strategies and feel helpless in managing their distress.

If your teen is self-harming, or you suspect that they are, seek professional help and contact Promises Healthcare for a confidential enquiry as soon as possible.

If your teen is in any danger, you can contact your local ambulance service on 995. You can contact the Institute for Mental Health 24-hour hotline on 6389-2222.

This is part 2, of a series of 3 posts         Click here for Part 1 

Written by: Leeran Gold – Psychologist, Forensic Services, Promises Healthcare

Self-Harm Series – Part 1 –

Self-Harm Series – Part 1 –

self-harm

What is self-harm?
Self-harm is the deliberate self-inflicted destruction of body tissue. It can occur with or without suicidal intentions. A commonly used term is ‘non-suicidal self-injury’ (NSSI), which refers to self-injury that is carried out without suicidal intent.

If my teen self-harms, does that mean they are suicidal?
It does not necessarily mean that your teen is suicidal if they self-harm. However every teen that self-harms should undergo a thorough suicide risk assessment. If your teen is self-harming, it is a sign that they are in distress.

What are self-harming behaviors?
Some self-harming behaviors include; cutting, burning, scratching, pinching, biting and hitting. Teens may also take minor overdoses of easily accessibly medications.

If your teen is self-harming, or you suspect that they are, seek professional help as soon as possible. Please contact Promises Healthcare for a confidential enquiry.

If your teen is in any danger, you can contact your local ambulance service on 995. You can contact the Institute for Mental Health 24-hour hotline on 6389-2222.

This is part 1, of a series of 3 posts

Click here for Part 2 

Written by: Leeran Gold – Psychologist, Forensic Services, Promises Healthcare

Signs your son or daughter may be in crisis

Signs your son or daughter may be in crisis

crisisSigns that your son or daughter may be in crisis include;

– Self-harming such as cutting or burning
– Expressing suicidal thoughts
– Withdrawal from friends and family
– Poor academic performance
– Getting into fights at school or at home
– Changes in appetite and body weight
– Appearing moody, anxious and irritable
– Posting negative self statements on social media
– Experimenting with alcohol or drugs

What can you do to help your teen?

– Access a support network for help and advice
– Provide your teen with support and encouragement to seek help

Most importantly, get in touch with a mental health professional for guidance and support. Contact our Forensic Team at Promises Healthcare for a confidential enquiry. We can provide you with comprehensive suicide risk assessments and treatment plans to help your teen get back on track.

If you need urgent help

If you feel that your teenager is in any danger, you can also contact your local ambulance service on 995. For after hours emergencies contact the Institute for Mental Health 24-hour hotline on 6389-2222.

Written by: Leeran Gold – Psychologist, Forensic Services at Promises Healthcare
https://promises.com.sg/leeran-gold/

Picture Source: thebrokenplaces.wordpress.com

Promises Forensics – Lawyers who lunch

Promises Forensics – Lawyers who lunch

Friday 29th January 2016 marked the first executive lunch of the year with expert discussion on mental health and the law. Hosted by Winslow Clinic and Harry Elias Partnership, 20 legal experts joined the Winslow Clinic Forensic Services team for an exclusive lunch hosted at Wooloomooloo Steakhouse.

The crowd was treated to insights and perspective on mental health and the legal arena by two of the leading experts in their respective fields; Dr Munidasa Winslow and Mr Harry Elias, who have over 80 years of combined experience.

Keep an eye on our events page for more upcoming professional development events for those working in the field of mental health and the law.

To find out more about our forensic services, please contact our clinic.

Written by: Leeran Gold – Psychologist, Promise Healthcare