Improving mental health accessibility for all Singaporeans  

PAP mental health singapore

Once spoken in hushed tones, it took a pandemic to draw mental health awareness out into the open and quash many long-held misconceptions. For a start, there is a tacit understanding of the importance of mental well-being and the fact that mental disorders do not discriminate.  

However, unlike the five stages of grief, awareness is only the first step. What we want to do, said Senior Minister of State (SMS) Dr Janil Puthucheary during the launch of the new national mental health and well-being strategy, is improve our mental health support ecosystem.  

A holistic mental health ecosystem for all Singaporeans 

Mental and physical health are intricately linked, such that somatization, which occurs when psychological distress turns into physical ailments, is an actual condition. Moreover, having good mental health can help build meaningful relationships, make us more resilient and improve overall well-being. With so much at stake, it is no surprise that governments around the world are becoming concerned about the mental well-being of their population. Singapore is no different. 

As early as 2007, the PAP Government has long been raising awareness and understanding of mental health as part of the National Mental Health Blueprint. A #BetterTogether initiative in 2022 also saw the Party encouraging Singaporeans to uplift one another and reduce discrimination towards individuals with mental health conditions.  

Today, we continue to address gaps in our mental health landscape. Based on feedback from the public and various stakeholders, there are now plans to make mental health care and support more accessible within the community and increase the capacity and capability of professional mental healthcare services, shared SMS Janil.  

One area that will see a boost is primary care. Besides extending mental health services to all new polyclinics by 2030, an increasing number of General Practitioners (GPs) have undergone training to provide mental health diagnosis and support as part of Healthier SG.  

In addition, there are plans to upskill over 10,000 frontline staff working in social service agencies over the next two years so that they can identify and respond to individuals with mental health needs early.  

“It will take not only a whole-of-government but also a whole-of-society effort to strengthen the mental health and well-being of the entire population…One where people live in a caring and inclusive society, can seek help without stigma, and are ready to support one another,” added SMS Janil. 

Slowly but surely, we can build an effective mental health ecosystem in Singapore where individuals can seek and receive help early without fear or shame.

Photo Source: Emma Simpson via Unsplash/Janil Puthucheary via Facebook/SingHealth