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[Fireside Chat] Depression 101: Breaking the Myths and Misconceptions

Post Event Update

Depression is the most common mental disorder in Singapore, but do we really understand what it is?

In our recent fireside chat ‘Depression 101: Breaking the Myths and Misconceptions’, almost 500 participants from all walks of life learnt more about this condition. In an enlightening presentation, IMH psychiatrist A/Prof Lee Cheng highlighted that depression can be a serious condition, especially if treatment is delayed. However, he assured participants that it is among the most treatable mental disorders and patients usually respond well to treatment. In the panel discussion that followed, caregiver Gabriel Chan and his daughter Kristyn Chan candidly discussed their experiences and struggles, with the latter expressing the importance of a strong support network and encouraging caregivers not to give up.

Many of the participants reflected on the usefulness of the session and how they benefitted from the father-daughter sharing. One of the participants, Grace Ling, said, “The talk given by Dr Lee Cheng provided great insight into the mental condition of our loved one. Mental illness is not a choice and cannot be overcome by will power. Through the helpful sharing by Gabriel and Kristyn, now I know how to better support my loved one in their recovery.”

The recorded session is also available on our YouTube Channel.


According to the National Health Study by Ministry of Health, depression is the leading cause of mental illness within Singapore, and 1 in 3 youths display depressive symptoms in their lifetime. With depression being the most common mental disorder not only in Singapore but in the world, why do people not feel comfortable talking about it? Is it really just all about feeling sad and down? And what should we do to support those who are experiencing such symptoms?

Join A/Prof Lee Cheng from IMH as he explains the illness, the symptoms, treatments as well as the stigma and misconceptions around it. Caregiver Gabriel Chan and his daughter Kristyn Chan who is currently recovering from depression join him to share their own personal experiences and views in this highly engaging panel.

This event is part of CAL’s continuous efforts to help caregivers and caregivers-to-be achieve higher levels of well-being and resilience, supplementing what is taught at our Caregivers-to-Caregivers Programme.

About Our Panellists and Moderator

A/Prof Lee Cheng

Dr Lee joined the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) in 1994. He is currently a Psychiatrist and a Senior Consultant and is the Clinical Director at the Office of Population Health (OPH) and the Programme Director of National Addictions Management Service (NAMS). He held multiple administrative appointments over the years, including the Vice-Chairman Medical Board (Clinical) from 2012 to 2021; Head of the Emergency Services from 2015 to 2021; the Programme Director of Mobile Crisis Service from 2007 to 2021; the Chief of the Department of Community Psychiatry from 2004 to 2014 and the Programme Director of the Community Mental Health Team from 2007 to 2017.

Dr Lee is an Adjunct Associate Professor at Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, Nanyang Technological University and an Adjunct Assistant Professor and Clinical Senior Lecturer at Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore. He is also an academic board member for the Executive Counselling & Training Academy (ECTA).

Dr Lee has been a fellow with the Academy of Medicine, Singapore (Psychiatry) since 2003. He is currently the Vice President and has been a Council Member of the College of Psychiatrists since 2017. He was the Chairman of the Section of Addiction Psychiatry from 2018 to 2022.

Dr Lee was appointed as a Justice of the Peace in 2018 and is a member of the Board of Visiting Justices and Board of Inspection for Ministry of Home Affairs. He is also a member of the Public Service Commission’s Disciplinary Panel of Persons. He is the Chairman of the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Psychiatry Advisory Board since 2020 and is the Chair of a Drug Rehabilitation Centre Review Committee since 2021. He is appointed by Ministry of Health to be a member of the Singapore Medical Council since 2021. He is also an accredited Mediator at the Singapore Mediation Centre since November 2018.

Dr Lee is currently the President of the Singapore Association for Mental Health (SAMH) and the immediate past President of the Silver Ribbon Singapore (SRS). He is also a board of director of We Care Community Services and sits on the advisory board for Orange Valley Nursing Home and Society of Sheng Hong Welfare Services. He is currently a member of the Steering Committee for Beyond The Label 2.0 and also a member of the Interagency Taskforce on Mental Health & Well-being. He was a board member of the National Council for Social Service (NCSS) from 2014 to 2020. He was also a past President of the Singapore Psychiatric Association (SPA).

Dr Lee received the Ministry of Health/National Healthcare Group Distinguished Senior Clinician Award in 2021. He also received the Commendation Medal (Covid-19) in 2022 and the National Day Long Service Award in 2020 and the Public Administration Medal (Bronze) in 2019. He received the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) 5 years Long Service Award in 2021 and the ‘Friends of MSF’ award in 2017.He received the NCSS 20 years Long Service Award (voluntary service to SAMH) in 2017. He received the National Healthcare Group (NHG) Distinguished Achievement Award in 2014; the Public Service (PS21) Star Service Award in 2010 and the Healthcare Humanity Award in 2008.

Gabriel Chan

Gabriel is a retired experienced tech professional and currently spends his time traveling. He is an ardent advocate of mental health and actively shares his experience supporting Kristyn with fellow caregivers. Gabriel aims to shatter stereotypes and stigma associated with mental illness and provides hope and healing for caregivers.

Kristyn Chan

Kristyn has been diagnosed with depression and ADHD for 7 years. She is currently in university studying a minor in psychology as she believes it will enhance her ability to understand herself and others going through similar experiences. To cope better with the negative thoughts, Kristyn turns to physical activity, where she is currently representing her university in touch rugby.

Nadia Daeng

Nadia started attending Caregiver Training Programmes at Caregivers Alliance Limited (CAL) in 2016 to cope with caregiver burnout. She grew up with an older sibling who has an intellectual disability, depression and anxiety and was caregiver to her mother with dementia until she passed away. She put her career in Creative Communications and Corporate Development on pause to care for her loved ones, and only recently re-joined the workforce choosing to stay in the non-profit Mental Health Advocacy space.

Today, she continues to volunteer as a CAL C2C trainer and is a strong advocate for caregivers and mental health literacy. Motivated by her own family’s lived experience, she has been an active participant of peer support groups as well as volunteer programmes in organisations such as CAL and Resilience Collective. Nadia believes in taking a holistic approach to educate different sectors of our society on the importance of mental health; aimed at elevating awareness for the continued support that caregivers need within our communities.


Topic: Depression 101: Breaking the Myths and Misconceptions

Date: 16 February 2023, Thursday

Time: 7:00pm – 8:30pm, including Q&A

Mode: Online via Zoom

Details will be emailed to all participants by 10 February 2023, Friday

Panellists: A/Prof Lee Cheng

Clinical Director (Population Health)

Programme Director (NAMS)

Senior Consultant

Institute of Mental Health

Gabriel Chan

Caregiver to daughter Kristyn Chan

Kristyn Chan

Person-in-Recovery diagnosed with depression

Moderator: Nadia Daeng

Person-in-Recovery diagnosed with depression

Caregiver to Sibling with intellectual disability, and previously to Mother with stroke and dementia

Registration URL: Registration is now closed.

The session will be recorded. By participating in the virtual fireside chat, you automatically give us consent for you to be recorded with your camera on and name on the screen, or your camera off and name appearing on the recording. If you do not consent to being recorded, please do not register for the session and instead you may watch the recording later on this page.

We welcome everyone to join us for an informative presentation on depression by A/Prof Lee Cheng, follow-by an interactive panel discussion session with our panellists and moderator.


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