Mental health issues have been one of the top issues identified by youths. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, stressors, such as anxiety over employment and lack of social interactions have become even more prominent.
Through engagements, citizens identified the following priority areas to work on:
– Reducing stigma
– Enhancing peer support
– Normalising help-seeking behaviours
– Addressing shortfall of support avenues
– Addressing mental health stressors due to COVID-19
NYC will therefore be focusing its engagement efforts on the above areas.
NYC conducted a broad-base digital poll in June to understand the (i) challenges faced by young people with regard to mental well-being, in general and during the pandemic, (ii) perceptions youths have of the effectiveness of current mental health initiatives in Singapore, and (iii) their knowledge gaps with regard to the topic and proposed solutions to address gaps they see in the landscape.
1,500 youths aged between 16 to 34 years old were surveyed. It was found that:
Mental health stressors due to COVID-19
Half of youth respondents reported that their mental health deteriorated due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation, where anxiety over future uncerainty, feeling disconnected with friends and partner were cited as the top two reasons for a decline in mental health.
Reducing stigma and normalising help-seeking behaviours
Social stigma (i.e. the fear of being judged) is the top fear faced by youths when confiding in someone about their mental health issues. Hence, it is necessary to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health, to normalise help-seeking behaviours for more to seek help when needed.
Enhancing peer support
57% of youths turn to their peers for mental health support. – Though 69% of youths have taken active steps to help someone they know who has been diagnosed with mental health issues, 31% of youths did not take active steps to help. The top reason cited was ‘I am not exactly sure how to help’. Therefore, it is necessary equip youths with the skills to provide support to their peers.
Addressing shortfall of support avenues
More than 70% of youths felt that more mental health support at workplaces is needed. Suggestions included; more awareness and education on how to improve one’s mental well-being and that of colleauges, having on-site counsellors, and more work-life balance.
MILENNIALS SHARED THE WORST THINGS SAID TO THEM
NYC partnered The Smart Local (TSL) and produced a YouTube video where TSL talents shared the worst things said to them, how they were negatively affected, and what they did to overcome those negative thoughts and emotions. It was a raw and unfiltered video with heartfelt sharings that resonanted with many youth audience.
Through the video, youths learnt that it is ok to be weak in front of their friends, people are always here as pillars of support and they care more than we think, and it is not shameful to seek help when needed. If you are interested to watch the video, you can find it below.
CARING FOR MY ILL MUM WAS STRESSFUL AND A REASON I CARE ABOUT YOUTH MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES
NYC partnered with TODAYOnline and Jagathishwaran Rajo, a youth passionate about mental health issues, to publish a Gen Y Speaks article in early September. Through the article, Jaga shared his experience with mental stress and anxiety as a caregiver for his mum who was ill. In addition, he wrote about how his experience with mental health shaped him as a person, and motivated him to help others in need.
You can read the full article here.
To navigate this period of uncertainty and boost your mental well-being, check out the list of resources here.
If you are going through a difficult time and need someone to talk to, here are some helplines that you may find useful:
– National CARE Hotline 1800-202-6868
– Samaritans of Singapore (24-hour hotline) 1800-221-4444
– Institute of Mental Health’s Mental Health Helpline, 6389-2222
– Belle, Beyond the Label Helpbot, click here
The Youth Action Challenge (YAC) provides a platform for youth to start ground-up initiatives and propose policy changes under the themes of ENVIRONMENT, SOCIETAL ISSUES, JOBS & THE FUTURE OF WORK.
Join the Youth Mental Well-being Network if you are passionate about promoting and contributing to youth mental well-being in Singapore.
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