Singapore DPM Wong says mental health a national priority, promises 28,000 more frontline workers

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Singapore DPM Wong says mental health a national priority, promises 28,000 more frontline workers
Singapore DPM Wong says mental health a national priority, promises 28,000 more frontline workers

Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong advised Parliament yesterday that the nation made mental health and wellbeing “a key precedence”, and that “we’ve tons to do” to “construct a Singapore the place everybody issues, the place everybody has a place, and everybody belongs”.

Lawrence Wong
Singapore DPM Lawrence Wong speaks on mental health and wellbeing in Parliament on February 7. Screenshot courtesy: YouTube/CNA

Wong mentioned this after informing the home that the Inter-agency Taskforce on Mental Health and Wellbeing, previously the COVID-19 Mental Wellness Taskforce, had launched a National Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy.

The most vital facet of the brand new technique is ramping up the Singapore authorities’s capability for providing mental health and wellbeing help to the group.

DPM Wong knowledgeable Parliament that polyclinics in Singapore would supply mental health providers; 900 more basic practitioner (GP) clinics would have these providers; and an extra 28,000 frontline personnel and volunteers would assist the authorities establish individuals with mental health troubles.

“Our plans will not be static; we’ll proceed to evolve and replace them,” mentioned the DPM. “Let there be little doubt — the federal government is making mental health and wellbeing a key precedence in our national agenda.”

Wong’s statements got here in response to considerations raised by a number of MPs on mental health providers in Singapore. They had identified the difficulties in getting appointments and likewise insufficient mental health consciousness among the many public.

The DPM mentioned that bettering mental health required the understanding of a “full vary of challenge” — one finish of the spectrum had “debilitating” situations, corresponding to bipolar dysfunction and schizophrenia; the opposite finish of the spectrum had “points affecting mental wellbeing”, corresponding to nervousness and stress.

Given this vary of issues, “a broad suite of options” was wanted, he said. What was required went past rising capability on the Institute of Mental Health (IMH), although that may be carried out, mentioned the DPM. Schools, workplaces, and the group would get more assist, too.

Something has modified around the globe because the early 2010s

The Singapore MPs who had raised the considerations had particularly alluded to the mental health help wanted by the aged and the youth.

During his Parliament speech, Wong mentioned, “In our [new] technique, we’re redoubling our efforts to higher perceive the problems that younger individuals face.”

While it was by no means straightforward to be a teenager, “one thing has modified around the globe, since across the early 2010s”, mentioned Wong. “The present era of younger individuals [is] expressing more considerations about their mental health than the earlier cohorts.”

Cases of melancholy and suicidal ideation have been on the rise in lots of international locations, together with the United States and the Nordic nations. “We see a related pattern in Singapore,” mentioned the DPM.

However, he added, mental health issues in Singapore have been “not on the identical excessive ranges” as in another international locations, the place this challenge was “conflated” with “different troublesome points”, corresponding to medication, homelessness, and road violence.

Wong mentioned that the authorities in Singapore have been “linking up with researchers from around the globe” to grasp the basis explanation for this surge in youth mental health points.

Talking concerning the affect of “heavy social media utilization” on children’ lives, DPM Wong referred to the issues arising from “the fixed stress to current a constructive picture on-line; the worry of lacking out; algorithms that flood information feeds with tales which might be designed to spark outrage; [and] the problems of cyber-bullying”.

He additionally identified that an excessive amount of time spent on social media meant too little sleep, lack of train, and fewer real-life interactions.

Some researchers felt, he mentioned, that “we additionally have to loosen up in the actual world and provides our youngsters more area totally free play and autonomy”. Absence of these issues may have an effect on their confidence and talent to take cost of their very own lives.

Targets for 2030 set by the Singapore authorities

The Parliament speech by DPM Wong outlined the next targets to be achieved by 2030 or earlier:

  • Increased capability at IMH and the redeveloped Alexandra Hospital for people who want specialist care
  • Increased capability for long-term help to offer stepdown care for many who want it
  • Increase in public sector psychiatrists and psychologists by 30 per cent and 40 per cent, respectively
  • Introduction of mental health providers in any respect polyclinics and at 900 more GP clinics
  • Training and equipping 28,000 extra frontline personnel and volunteers to serve throughout the group and social service touchpoints
  • Redoubling of efforts to attain current targets, such because the Ministry of Education goal of deploying more than 1,000 teacher-counsellors throughout faculties, along with the fundamental counselling abilities imparted to lecturers

Helplines on mental wellbeing and counselling

Mental wellbeing

  • Institute of Mental Health’s Mental Health Helpline: 6389-2222 (24 hours)
  • Samaritans of Singapore: 1800-221-4444 (24 hours) /1-767 (24 hours)
  • Singapore Association for Mental Health: 1800-283-7019
  • Silver Ribbon Singapore: 6386-1928
  • Tinkle Friend: 1800-274-4788
  • Chat, Centre of Excellence for Youth Mental Health: 6493-6500/1
  • Women’s Helpline: 1800-777-5555 (weekdays, 10am to 6pm)


  • TOUCHline (Counselling): 1800-377-2252
  • TOUCH Care Line (for caregivers): 6804-6555
  • Care Corner Counselling Centre: 6353-1180
  • Counselling and Care Centre: 6536-6366

Online assets

  • (for these aged 13 to 25)
  • (for these aged 12 to 25)

Helpline info supply: The Straits Times

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