New programme launched by President’s Challenge and IMH to support mental health in youth

The programme by President’s Challenge and the Institute of Mental Health intends to serve selected youths aged 13 to 19 years old.

Caleb Lau

Grew up a musician, found a calling in photography and writing. Still in love with all of them.

Published: 15 March 2022, 1:48 PM

A new community-based programme has been launched to better support youths with mental health conditions, the President’s Office announced in a statement on Tuesday (Mar 15).

Named SYiNC, the programme by the President’s Challenge (PC) and the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) aims to better serve selected youths between 13 to 19 years old through existing social service agencies.


Established in 2000, the President’s Challenge is an annual community outreach and fund-raising campaign for beneficiaries selected yearly by the President’s Office. PHOTO CREDIT: FACEBOOK/@PRESIDENTSCHALLENGE


The President’s Office highlighted a recent rise in the incidence of mental health issues among youths, reporting a 60 per cent increase in the number of adolescents seen at IMH for depression from 2015 to 2020. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated the challenges of helping these youths due to safe management restrictions at healthcare facilities, it said. 

In the programme’s pilot phase, social service agencies will introduce a stepped care model for youths with mild to moderate mental health systems to receive the essential secondary symptoms and psychosocial support in the vicinity of their homes.


The four social service agencies working with IMH to implement the programme are (clockwise from top left) Club HEAL, Singapore Association for Mental Health, Singapore Children’s Society and TOUCH Community Services. PHOTO CREDIT: FACEBOOK/@CLUB-HEAL, FACEBOOK/@SINGAPOREASSOCIATIONFORMENTALHEALTH, FACEBOOK/@SINGAPORECHILDRENSSOCIETY, FACEBOOK/@TOUCHCOMMUNITYSERVICES


The beneficiaries of the programme includes youths who were unable to be admitted to IMH’s emergency room and still require some community support, as well as those discharged from psychiatric wards or have follow-ups in specialist clinics.

Along with the new care model, the agencies will also be expected to provide standardised core services such as counselling work and family therapy.

“By situating mental healthcare within the community, the PC-IMH programme also helps to holistically address the social issues faced by youths and their families,” President Halimah Yacob said.

“I urge more social service agencies to join us in supporting our youths with mental health needs.”

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