Servicemen with mental health issues provided counselling, medical treatment: MINDEF

Servicemen with mental health issues provided counselling, medical treatment: MINDEF

Medical expenses incurred for the treatment of mental health conditions at Government and restructured hospitals or clinics is also paid as long as treatment is required, even after the serviceman has left service, says Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen.

SINGAPORE: Servicemen with known mental health conditions before enlistment are monitored and provided with counselling and medical treatment, Defence Minister Dr Ng Eng Hen said on Monday.

Dr Ng added that those who sustain either mental health or physical injuries during the course of service will also be compensated according to the Work Injury Compensation Act, but is "generally more generous in amounts paid".

"Medical expenses incurred for the treatment of the condition at Government and restructured hospitals or clinics is also paid as long as treatment is required, even after the serviceman has left service," he said.

Dr Ng also noted that dedicated psychologists are available at formation level, and servicemen can call the 24-hour SAF Counselling Hotline whenever help is needed.

He was writing in response to a question by Non-Constituency Member of Parliament Dennis Tan, who asked how the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) treated servicemen with mental health problems.

The Defence Minister added that commanders are also trained to enhance their understanding of mental health problems, so that they can better identify and manage servicemen with such problems which include referral to trained professionals.

Dr Ng also noted that the incidence of mental health conditions among NSFs is about 4 per cent - lower than the 7 per cent national incidence of Singaporeans aged 18 to 34, as reported in in a 2012 study by the Institute of Mental Health.

"Whatever the cause, the SAF’s goal is to ensure the mental and physical well-being of its servicemen through a multi-prong approach," said Dr Ng.

Source: CNA/av

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