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Digital Component to Singapore National Mental Health Strategy

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a “significant impact” on the mental well-being of different segments of the population, according to statistics cited by the COVID-19 Mental Wellness Task Force (CoMWT). The Institute of Mental Health (IMH) has stated that almost 13% of the population questioned had sadness or anxiety between May 2020 and June 2021.

In light of the need, Singapore has implemented a National Mental Health Strategy to address. A national effort to promote mental health and well-being beyond the COVID 19 epidemic has now been set up through a new interagency task force. This will expand the existing COVID-19 Task Force on Mental Wellness (CoMWT), which was first organised by the Ministry of Health (MOH) last October to address the worldwide pandemic’s mental health concerns.

The new organisation, known as the Interagency Taskforce on Mental Health and Well-being, will create an overall strategy for these challenges and monitor the results, stated MOH. Other members include the Social and Family Development Minister, and high-level representatives from the education, health, and manpower ministries. Academics and officials from the public sector will also be present. A critical facet in this group is the implementation of three new recommendations, which the original workforce announced after its analysis of the psycho-social impact on the population of the pandemic.

The IATT will focus on mental health and health issues as well as on cross-cutting aspects which need multi and inter-agency coordination, under the chairmanship of the Senior Minister of State for Health. In view of these issues, the Ministry of Health has expanded the task force to an interagency platform that largely monitors the implementation of the activities on the mentioned issues. It will oversee the formulation of a national policy on mental health and wellness, developed by means of next year’s public consultation. Following the formation of a national strategy, it will follow up on its progress and impact.

Apart from the need for a one-stop online repository of resources around mental wellness, the CoMWT, which was set up in October last year to address two additional significant challenges with a government-wide approach, apart from the requirement for a one-stop online library of mental wellness resources, The necessity for a comprehensive strategy for aligning mental health initiatives in government agencies with and tracking them, and greater harmonisation of training resources for mental health and trained professionals. mental health.

A key part of the strategy is the development of an online portal through the Health Promotion Board of the Singapore Ministry of Health, which serves as an inventory of mental health resources. The site contains “expert-cured” content for mental and well-being. It is a resource for “individuals who need information for themselves or their loved ones.” The web and mobile app platform in which the Ministry hosts a range of health content, benefits, and e-services will be introduced.

The HPB plans to launch the prototype website later this year, according to a news release. A national mental health site has been created to address the psycho-social impacts of the pandemic on the Singaporean community as part of the COVID-19 Mental Wellness Taskforce (CoMWT).

The task force claimed that the availability of multiple online mental health and well-being resources can be “confusing and overwhelming” for people looking for information. In connection with the Youth Mental Wellbeing Network’s involvement sessions with more than 1.500 people, there are some concerns about the “monetary, legitimate and trustworthy” material found on different internet sites.

As of May, of this year, over 45,000 calls were received via the National CARE Hotline, another programme that was initiated to deliver first aid and emotional support. The three main topics discussed in the hotline were the need for emotional support, mental health problems, and social issues. To support Singaporean citizens’ mental health, various government agencies and non-profit organisations launched or expanded some 40 initiatives during the pandemic.

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