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No more clashing voices in the head

Ahead of World Mental Health Day on Oct 10, Mr Jumaat Osman, 49, shares the story of his recovery from schizophrenia, one of many mental health illnesses in Singapore.

No more clashing voices in the head
Mr Jumaat Osman handpaints a vase he made. With him is Mr Chuan Siang Boon, owner of Boon’s Pottery, who offered Mr Jumaat free pottery lessons in preparation for the 2016 International Abilympics, an international vocational skills competition for people with disabilities. PHOTOS: CAROLINE CHIA
Mr Jumaat moulds a lump of clay on a potter’s wheel at Boon's Pottery. He first took up pottery at theInstitute of Mental Health as a form of therapy, and has become very good at it. PHOTOS: CAROLINE CHIA
Mr Jumaat now works part-time, six days a week, at Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen. Earning an income has given him a great sense of accomplishment. PHOTOS: CAROLINE CHIA
Mr Jumaat collects a tray from a customer at the Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen outlet where he works. When he first joined the team in June last year, it took him a bit longer to understand instructions. But, now, he is much faster and manages the entire dining area on his own on most days. His district manager calls him “an outstanding employee”. PHOTOS: CAROLINE CHIA
Mr Jumaat buys mee rebus for breakfast. Next to him is his mother, Madam Siti Suki. Mr Jumaat, who is single, lives with Madam Siti. His family also includes six siblings, all of whom are married. PHOTOS: CAROLINE CHIA
Mother and son walk back home after a trip to the market. Till a few years back, Mr Jumaat’s condition confined him to his house. Today, he travels independently by public transport. PHOTOS: CAROLINE CHIA
Mr Jumaat has breakfast with his 80-year-old mother in their flat. When Mr Jumaat is not at work, he helps with household chores, such as cleaning up and getting rid of the garbage. PHOTOS: CAROLINE CHIA
Mr Jumaat shows some of the medication he has had to take as part of his treatment. At one stage, he was on five different medicines, but these days, he has to take only one pill a day. PHOTOS: CAROLINE CHIA

Caroline Chia
cchia@sph.com.sg
Executive Photojournalist

For 12 years, Mr Jumaat Osman, 49, spent most of his time cooped up at home, often hiding in his bedroom in the three-room flat he shares with his mother.