Having His Hands Full for Mental Health


Commitment to his relationship led to him peeling and cutting heaps of pineapples, all for a good cause. When Han Rong met his girlfriend in 2017, he learnt that she was suffering from bipolar disorder. His girlfriend Peirong, who was in her 20s, had difficulty controlling her emotions and would at times cry uncontrollably. Struggling to maintain her composure, she found it hard to be accepted by others at work and in her personal life. It was also hard for her to hold on to a job. While Han Rong knew very little about mental health, he was accepting of her condition and open to helping her in her recovery. Nevertheless, the relationship did not start out smoothly for them, and the couple found themselves quarrelling very often. For Han Rong, a lack of understanding of what his girlfriend was going through made it hard for him to empathise with her struggles. This changed when Han Rong attended a Caregivers-to-Caregivers Training Programme (C2C), encouraged by Peirong, who had close friends that had gone through the course and found it helpful for understanding about mental health. The C2C programme helped the couple to realise that disagreements were normal in relationships, but that their quarrels could be aggravated by Peirong’s inability to cope with large spikes in emotion. Han Rong came to accept that this was a result of the condition, and that it was neither of their faults. He also found that learning about the causes of mental health issues helped him to become more considerate towards his girlfriend. While Peirong considers her father and a close friend to be her primary caregive