New taskforce aims to tackle effects of COVID-19 on mental health

The taskforce will work to improve the mental well-being of the population in three ways.

Quek Ser Han

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Published: 24 August 2021, 1:56 PM

On Aug 23, the Ministry of Health announced the launch of a new taskforce to tackle mental health issues resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Named the Interagency Taskforce on Mental Health and Well-being, it is led by Senior Minister of State for Health, Dr Janil Puthucheary.

The new taskforce aims to implement the recommendations of the COVID-19 Mental Wellness Taskforce (CoMWT). The CoMWT was established in October 2020 to study the impact of the pandemic on the mental well-being of the population.

A study on the general population conducted by the Institute of Mental Health revealed that 13 per cent of participants experienced symptoms of depression and anxiety from May 2020 to June 2021. 

Additionally, the National Youth Council found that over half of their youth respondents (52 per cent) struggled with mental well-being, exacerbated by worries about their future, their finances and their academic or work performances.

Based on these findings, the CoMWT has made three recommendations which the new taskforce will work on implementing. 

First, the development of a national strategy to improve the mental health and well-being of the population. 

Second, the creation of a one-stop online portal by the Health Promotion Board to ensure the population has access to legitimate mental health resources. 

Third, the development of a national mental health competency training framework for those helping people with mental health conditions.

Dr Puthucheary said in a Facebook post: “Protecting mental health is a collective effort. So let’s all work together as a nation to understand mental health better and to care for one another.”

For more information on the new taskforce, click here.

If you find yourself feeling down during this season, check out our mental well-being resources here.

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