Four key improvements under the National Mental Health and Well-being Strategy to look out for
Some changes, such as the expansion of mental health support services to include more accessible facilities, are planned to roll out by 2030.
The Ministry of Health announced Thursday (Oct 5) that it is launching measures to improve the national mental health and well-being of Singaporean citizens.
Here are four planned points of MOH’s strategy that youths can look out for.
1. Promoting mental health and well-being
In order to promote the mental health and well-being of the general public, not just those in immediate need of support services, MOH will place emphasis on preventive care.
Changes that affect students will include mental health literacy efforts like establishing peer support structures and programmes to build well-being and resilience in schooling youths.
The plan also aims to improve the accessibility of support for youths, including those who are currently unable to receive care.
Despite the widespread movement for mental health awareness, some youths who are in need of support may not be able to access it due to the need for parental consent, which is not always given. The Government has acknowledged this issue and has committed to studying overseas practices to address it.
Other changes will involve the release of a positive use guide on healthy use of technology for youths, a wider SG Mental Well-Being Network, and the development of a Parents’ Toolbox to strengthen parent-child relationships.
2. Expanding capacity of Mental Health Services
MOH is increasing the accessibility of mental health services to reach a greater number of Singaporeans. This will include refining the care given to youths at risk, and expanding the number of facilities where support can be provided.
Currently, 17 out of the 24 existing polyclinics provide mental health services. MOH plans for all new polyclinics to be equipped to provide support by 2030.
The number of General Practitioners (GPs) trained to provide such care will also increase, and will be able to extend counselling and psychological services. Other providers of mental health support, such as the redeveloped Alexandra Hospital, will offer expanded psychiatric services.
Care providers will see the introduction of a Tiered Care Model to cater to the needs of individuals seeking mental health care. It aims to allow for effective, accessible and stigma-free treatment.
The Tiered Care Model will contain four tiers: Mental Well-being Promotion, Low Intensity Services, Moderate Intensity Services, and High Intensity Services.
Under these tiers, providers of support will be able to better align the care given to youths at risk.
For example, by identifying youths who are struggling with suicidal tendencies and thoughts but not necessarily a mental health condition (falling under Low Intensity Services), specialised care can be provided for that need.
In this specific instance, the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) will pilot an intermediate residential facility to provide a stable, safe environment where underlying triggers can be addressed through psychosocial interventions.
Alongside these changes, IMH will also increase inpatient psychiatric bed and rehabilitation capability, and pilot a Crisis Response Team (CRT) to aid police officers in managing suicidal cases.
In an attempt to meet future mental health needs, MOH will also develop two new psychiatric nursing homes and a psychiatric rehabilitation home by 2030.
Other changes will include the development of other first-stop touchpoints like mental health helplines and text services.
READ MORE ON CONVERSE: Mental Wellbeing: Moving Beyond “It’s Ok Not to Be Ok”
3. Improving early identification and intervention
MOH also plans to increase the number of trained service producers across sectors. Frontline personnel like community partners and volunteers will be trained in mental health awareness and psychological first aid.
By 2025, MOH aims to train an additional 10,000 frontline personnel and upskill 1,500 frontline social service professionals.
4. Improving workplace mental health and well-being
In an attempt to improve the workplace environment and strengthen employees’ mental health and well-being, MOH will be working with relevant agencies to train employees to be peer supporters and provide support systems.
It will also aim to reintegrate those affected by mental health conditions, for whom employability may be a concern. Efforts under government agencies include outreach efforts, training and support for job readiness, and new legislations under the Tripartite Committee on Workplace Fairness to prohibit workplace discrimination.
Details and specific plans on the Strategy are available on the National Mental Health and Well-being Strategy are available on MOH’s website.
If you are looking for mental well-being resources, check out Youthopia’s resource page with everything from mental health self-assessments to tips for coping with challenging seasons in life.
Other helplines you may find useful:
- National Care Healthline: 1800-200-6868
- TOUCHline: 1800-377-2252
- Mindline SG: https://mindline.sg/
- Limitless: www.limitless.sg/talk
- Community Health Assessment Team (CHAT): 6493-6500/6501
- Singapore Association for Mental Health: 1800-283-7019
- Samaritans of Singapore (24-hour hotline): 1800-221-4444