“I’ve always known mental health is important. But I never thought I would experience it so personally — through the death of a dear loved one.”
On 18 October, Natalie Khoo posted a heartfelt tribute to her one and only brother who took his own life recently.
Her brother, Brian Khoo Yew Jin, was only 28 years old.
A Struggle With Depression
“Shock. Numbness. Guit. Pain. Loss. One after another, and all at once,” wrote Natalie as she grappled with her brother’s death due to depression.
In a series of text-filled images, she opened up about the incident—one which she found difficult to share with others until now.
“I believe it’s a story that needs to be told,” Natalie who is based in Malaysia, wrote. She highlights the importance of doing so “for the sake of any amongst you or your circle who may be struggling. Hard. (sic)“
Whether it is depression (that her brother had been facing) or any mental health condition for that matter, Natalie states that “it is a disease”, just like any other. “And one that’s creeping into this generation now more than ever,” she notes.
Image source: Facebook/Natalie Khoo
Natalie revealed that her brother who worked as a senior analyst for a global company, had been stressed out from work in the weeks before his passing on Wednesday morning (Oct 14).
However, while she admits that the nature of Brian’s job is “indeed demanding”, she strongly believes that there is more than meets the eye when it came to what triggered his depression.
Exacerbated by the Malaysia’s Movement Control Order (MCO) imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Natalie shared that her brother’s mental health escalated quickly—and without their family’s knowledge.
In addition, she wrote that the lockdown measures had restricted her brother’s means of physical and social interactions with others—something which he adored.
“There is no shame in asking for help”
As one who has personally experienced losing a loved one due to mental illness, Natalie called on those who have come across her post to seek professional help if they are battling anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts or any other form of mental illness.
“Please tell someone, even if you think they’re busy or don’t care or you don’t want to burden them with your pain,” she wrote.
Whether it is through text message or DM, Natalie encouraged those who “don’t know where to start [in asking for help]” to reach out to her directly.
She further highlights: “It is not your fault. There is no shame in asking for help.”
Natalie also urged people to look out for those around them, be it loved ones, old friends or even acquaintances. “Send them a text, ask them about their day, show them they’re not alone,” she says.
If one does not have the ability to help out someone who is battling mental health, Natalie suggests connecting the affected with someone who can.
She adds: “Meanwhile, educate yourself. I’m still learning and trying to do the same.”
In Memory of Her Brother
Sister posts tribute to older brother in heartfelt post. | Image source: Facebook/Natalie Khoo
Alongside Natalie’s post were treasured moments of her and Brian, including those from their childhood.
She also shared a photo taken of them during their family trip to Boracay in 2016, recounting that they experienced various activities together such as paragliding, cliff jumping and sailing.
“While we have very distinctive personalities, we shared a common thirst for adventure,” Natalie wrote. “And I’m grateful to have had my share of adventures alongside him on many other occasions than this.”
Natalie also shared how she and her brother had many mutual friends and acquaintances from having attended the same church and schools for most of their lives.
“Over the years and in the last few days, I’ve heard many sharing how he has touched their lives through his cheerful personality and sensitive soul; and how he always had his signature smile in those moments,” she wrote.
While Brian may have left the world, Natalie says they have a shared faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour and that she is “assured and comforted that he’s in God’s loving hands”.
“I take heart knowing that the same God who created him is faithful and will watch over him until the Last Day,” shared Natalie.
“So goodbye for now, gor, until I see you again. Much love from your only sister.”
You can view Natalie’s full post here: