As a student and later a professional working in the US, Canada, London, Paris and Hong Kong, Joan Low had grown accustomed to a cosmopolitan lifestyle. But when she returned to Malaysia after more than a decade abroad, she found much had stayed the same in her hometown.

There were also no advancements in the mental health space, either. “Twenty years ago, as you can imagine, no one spoke about mental health and it was not a commonly used term. Mental health literacy was, and still is, low and access to certified mental health professionals remains challenging,” Low tells The Edge Singapore in a recent interview.

It was reported that an estimated 264 million people around the world are suffering from depression. In Malaysia, for example, one in three adults are grappling with mental health problems. “In the US, most people had mental health professionals they spoke to regularly,” says Low of her time as a Middlebury College undergraduate, where she studied international politics and economics. “It was almost a status symbol, to be very honest. But in Asia, it is not something that is common,” she adds.

To continue reading,

Sign in to access this Premium article.

Subscription entitlements:

Less than $9 per month
3 Simultaneous logins across all devices
Unlimited access to latest and premium articles
Bonus unlimited access to online articles and virtual newspaper on The Edge Malaysia (single login)

Related Stories

Stay updated with Singapore corporate news stories for FREE

Follow our Telegram | Facebook