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Mitigating Mental Health Risks in SG

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Vaznya has seen the way Singapore handles mental health issues and seeks to raise awareness for those in need.

Introduction

In the recent event of COVID-19, there has been a spark in conversations concerning mental health. According to a study done in 2017 by the Institute of Mental Health (IMH), at least 1 in 7 people in Singapore has suffered from a mental disorder in their lifetime. Mental health and illnesses have been taboo topics since the founding of Singapore. It is often brushed under the carpet to sustain a reputation of being a successful person. The overwhelming pressure has thus resulted in mental health struggles amongst individuals. With the stress of the ongoing pandemic, competitive economy, and academic stress; there has been a rise in mental health issues in Singapore. Reportedly, There was an increase in calls and emails to the Samaritans of Singapore (SOS), a crisis helpline, in 2020. The nationwide lockdown and disruption of daily lives have taken a toll on the mental state of Singaporeans.

Discussion

In this article, there are three ways in which society can do to help people who struggle with mental health issues. Society can aim to do this by campaigns, providing talks and workshops, and offering more helplines and counselling services.

Increased Campaigns For Mental Health

Campaigns are crucial in spreading awareness and information about mental health. They help to correct misconceptions and destigmatize mental health issues. For example, in 2018, the National Council of Social Service (NCSS) launched a nationwide campaign to promote inclusiveness in society for individuals with mental disorders (NCSS launches first Nationwide Campaign, 2018). The campaign focuses on starting discussions to normalise mental health issues as it is normally seen as a sensitive topic. Some are often too afraid of seeking help as they fear being outcasted or looked down upon; more often than not, they end up suffering in silence. Therefore, organisations should push for more campaigns and events as they provide a gateway for people to learn and understand mental health. This will help mitigate mental health risks as it allows people to recognise the signs of mental distress and seek help when needed.

Conducting Talks and Workshops

Talks and workshops on mental health would help people understand more about mental health, including their own. Organisations like Community Health Assessment Team (CHAT) provide talks and workshops for individuals to learn more about mental health and how to deal with it, especially from professionals (Talks and Workshops, CHAT). This will inform people on ways to seek help, give them advice, and provide them with coping strategies. More talks and workshops that are open to the public should be conducted for organisations to help mitigate the risk of mental health issues. Organisations can also collaborate with professionals to spread more accurate information and advice. Additionally, organised talks and workshops serve as an emotional support group or an outlet for people in need.

Development of Helplines and Counselling services

Lastly, organisations can set up helplines and counselling services for those who are struggling. Amidst the global pandemic, having access to mental health resources such as therapists and psychiatrists has become increasingly difficult. Therefore, organisations can set up helplines and online counselling services for greater accessibility and convenience. One example of this is the Samaritans of Singapore. SOS offers a myriad of services, ranging from suicide hotlines to crisis support (Our Services, SOS). They should also work on existing helplines and counselling services to be more efficient. They can do this by ensuring that the helpline operators are trained and proficient at handling distressed calls. Having more helplines and online counselling services from organisations, they will be able to handle and support more people with their mental health struggles.

Conclusion

All things considered, there are numerous ways to mitigate mental health issues in Singapore. Recently, mental health conversations have sparked an increase, with many more people focusing on the lack of support, awareness, and resources. Although there is a myriad of services provided by organisations, many do not know how to access these resources or are unaware of them. Therefore, by using the three strategies discussed, organisations would impact more people and their mental health. With organisations like CHAT and NCSS, there should be more available resources provided for people who are struggling with mental health.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Vaznya

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