SINGAPORE: Health authorities around the world must not only fight COVID-19 but also manage its impact on mental health, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Saturday (Oct 10).
This is as the pandemic has brought "stresses, pressures and disruptions" to more people, Mr Lee said in a video message to the World Health Organization for World Mental Health Day.
Mental health is essential to overall well-being, said Mr Lee. But while awareness of its importance has grown, “too often, persons with mental health conditions are still not well understood or fully accepted”.
In Singapore’s case, Mr Lee highlighted the National Care Hotline set up to provide psychological first aid and emotional support to the public during this “stressful period”.
He also pointed to the COVID-19 Mental Wellness Taskforce, established to tackle the pandemic’s impact on mental health.
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The Prime Minister noted that one in seven people in Singapore will suffer from a mental health condition at some point in their lives.
“Ensuring access to quality mental healthcare for every citizen is therefore a major priority,” he said, pointing out efforts to raise mental health literacy, promote early intervention and improve mental health services.
“Protecting mental health takes a collective effort,” Mr Lee said. “Let’s resolve to work together to understand mental health better, and to care for one another during these difficult times.”