Jon: Mental Health in Singapore

As most of you who are reading this blog are students interested to find out more about the field of mental health in Singapore, we will be doing up this special blog post to share some general information about it.  In 2010, the first ever population wide mental health study was conducted by the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) in collaboration with the Ministry of Health (MOH) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU).  Currently, with the addition of Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health from the National University of Singapore (NUS), IMH is conducting a similar population-wide study to track and trend the state of mental health status in the Singapore population.  This study is expected to be completed within this year and would most probably be published at the end of the 2017 or by 2018.

Image Credit: http://leapforgood.sg/
Based on the previous study in 2010, 12.0% of the adult population in Singapore met the criteria for common affective (e.g., depression), anxiety or alcohol use disorders.  This means that 1 in 10 Singapore Residents are suffering from some form of major psychological disorder.  Additionally, the study acknowledges that these numbers may be higher due to the tendency for Asian populations to under-report psychological destress.  Furthermore, (sorry ladies) based on the study, they found women to be at a higher risk of Major Depression over their lifetime when compared to men, but the good news is that men were more at risk for substance abuse types disorders.  These findings provide a scary reality of a very real problem as mental illnesses are a huge burden for people inflicted with them.  Depression and anxiety are ranked the second leading cause of disability just behind diabetes in Singapore, which shows how crippling it can be when you consider how other more well-known diseases such as strokes or breast cancer are also on the list.

Image Credit: http://ifonlysingaporeans.blogspot.sg/2011/11/1-in-10-will-suffer-from-mental-illness.html
Mental health is everybody’s business, and hopefully this short article will encourage you to read more about the field in Singapore.  Some helpful resources and articles can be found below to give you a better understanding of what else is being done in Singapore to tackle these problems.
Stay tuned for the post on the various VWO’s and Government Agencies uniting in the fight against Mental Illness in the coming posts!

Resources: [click on the titles to be directed to the articles]
  1. A population-based survey of mental disorders in Singapore
  2. Gender differences in major depressive disorder: findings from the Singapore Mental Health Study
  3. Beliefs About Help Seeking for Mental Disorders:  Findings From a Mental Health Literacy Study in Singapore
  4. Making in‐roads across the youth mental health landscape in Singapore:  The Community Health Assessment Team (CHAT)
  5. Recognition of mental disorders among a multiracial population in Southeast Asia 
  6. National Mental Health Blueprint
  7. Community Mental Health Team Programme Report
  8. Mental Health Educational Brochures

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