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Providing Access to Counsellors through Mental Health App in Singapore

To improve access to mental health support in Singapore, a digital mental health platform and a pharmaceutical firm have signed an exclusive partnership to provide more access to biopsychosocial care to people in Singapore. The collaboration aims to counter the stigma surrounding mental health and bridge the gap in treatment.

This collaboration, which will connect psychosocial professionals such as Counsellors and Psychologists, to healthcare providers such as Psychiatrists and Primary Care doctors, is the first of its kind to join key facets of the mental health care ecosystem on one platform for users and aims to set the standard for holistic mental healthcare.

Under this partnership, the platform will provide free access to counselling or psychological support for three months via its mobile app. The app also includes composite self-service content, tracking and one-on-one behavioural coaching and therapy. The pharmaceutical firm will help Singapore connect psychosocial and pharmacological care, which also adds value to their practice.

– Countering Stigma on Mental Health

According to a page, Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is one of the leading causes of out-of-pocket healthcare expenditures in the Asia-Pacific region, and up to 90% of people living with MDD do not seek help. In Singapore, the treatment gap for the condition stands at over 73% according to a  study by the Institute of Mental Health, due to stigma as well as accessibility issues attributed to fragmented care models between biological and psychological care.

The treatment gap for MDD can be significantly narrowed with proper mental healthcare infrastructure in place and timely care delivery. Countering stigmas associated with seeking help, increasing psychosocial education, and providing seamless access to psychological as well as pharmacological care is paramount in bridging the treatment gap.

Providing Mental Health Support Via Mobile app

One of the main goals of the partnership is to pioneer more seamless access to biopsychosocial care for the community with their combined expertise in pharmacological and psychosocial care respectively. The initiative will not only deepen cross-sectorial synergies within the mental healthcare provider ecosystem but also provide access to psychosocial support via the mobile app and the chat.

The pandemic has revealed the urgency and necessity for resources and opportunities for mental health support, given how the stressors of life can lead to and even exacerbate underlying mental health conditions. This is compounded by social distancing, which is important to decelerate the spread of COVID-19 yet disrupts social rhythm and deprives people of their regular coping mechanisms.

The partnership started based on a shared purpose to challenge the stigmas associated with mental health and to develop a digital mental health space that will help support the mental healthcare ecosystem in Singapore.

The platform’s focus lies in providing psychosocial support to users through its proprietary architecture on its mobile apps; the partnership will see the pharmaceutical complement this approach, elevating the biopsychosocial ecosystem for mental health support in Singapore by connecting psychosocial and pharmacological care to add value to their practice and thus address current treatment gaps. Ultimately, the partnership will enable greater accessibility to precise and timely mental health care.

As reported by OpenGov Asia, 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.

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.

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