National Service (NS) can be a difficult time for some.
The sudden shift of everyday life to a military regime is often overwhelming and some struggle to adapt.
It’s not just the physical aspects either.
Anxiety, loneliness and even the simple feeling of homesickness can get to even the hardiest individual.
And we all know how hard mental issues can affect a person.
Measures to tackle such issues are extremely vital today.
Because everyone needs varying degrees of support and help.
According to The Straits Times, a support programme for NS recruits in the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) has been enhanced recently.
This enhancement aims to help those who require additional supervision and assistance to adjust to NS.
SCDF full-time national servicemen (NSFs) were previously interviewed by their assigned platoon commander if they needed extra help.
The enhancements will now see these individuals accompanied by a deputy NSF platoon commander as well.
The deputy commander would usually be an older regular officer.
An SCDF spokesman also mentioned that interviews would be conducted in civilian attire.
The aim is to help the interviewees feel less regimented and make it more comfortable to open up about issues.
Which is really helpful because people often associate uniforms with strictness.
SCDF NSFs who have no local family support will receive help such as a buddy from a similar ethnic group or one who can speak their language.
Those facing financial difficulties will even be offered commodities within camp over weekends or public holidays.
Much respect to the programme for reaching out to these individuals.
The Case Of Ahad
The reason for this massive change comes from a rather unfortunate incident.
The proposals were made after SCDF NSF Muhammad Ahad Lone, 18, committed suicide in April last year.
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He was found dead at the foot of an apartment block at Pine Grove in Clementi, where he had been living alone in a rented room.
Ahad was born in Pakistan and came to Singapore with his family in 2007.
They obtained Singapore citizenship in 2009 and he had been serving his NS in the SCDF since Feb 6 last year.
Ahad had apparently shown various signs of depression and wanted to inflict self-harm.
Since enlisting till his death, Ahad had made 17 visits to various hospitals and medical institutions.
Some of these included the National University Hospital (NUH) and Institue of Mental Health (IMH).
His medical privileges were restricted on 27 March 2018 because his unit said he had been taking multiple MCs from NUH Emergency Department whenever he booked out.
If only they knew what he was going through.
On 2 April, the SCDF’s medical officer placed Ahad on light duties for three months, following IMH’s memo on his condition.
He was told his case would allow him consideration to downgrade his Physical Employment Status (PES).
He later served a confinement sentence on 6 April, where the camp’s Deputy Officer reported no strange behaviour.
Unfortunately, Ahad committed suicide later that month.
SCDF will study the State Coroner’s recommendations in dealing with mental health issues.
Taking Care Of Yourself
Mental health is just as important as your physical one.
Talk to people you can trust and confide in them. It would at least be less painful than going through it alone.
If you need additional help, you can call Samaritans of Singapore at 1800 221 4444.
The hotline is open 24/7 so there’s no worry about not being available.
We hope all our readers remember to take care and love yourselves.
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