SINGAPORE: A new initiative offering mental health support and awareness to at-risk youths will be launched this year, Senior Minister of State for Health Lam Pin Min announced on Thursday (Mar 5).
Speaking in Parliament during the Committee of Supply debate, Dr Lam noted that recent engagements with youths showed "mental well-being continues to be a top concern", indicating that more needs to be done.
The Integrated Youth Service, jointly developed by the Ministry of Health (MOH), Institute of Mental Health, Agency for Integrated Care and Care Corner, is described in an MOH press release as a "one-stop service where at-risk youths can access coordinated mental health and support services such as individualised basic emotional support, needs identification and befriending services".
It will be launched in the second half of 2020.
Care Corner will reach out to youths in a series of outreach events, beginning in Woodlands.
Dr Lam said that MOH will continue to take a "whole-of-society approach" and work with other ministries to address youth mental health needs. In addition, the ministry will work with the National Youth Council on the Youth Mental Well-being Network, he added.
The network aims to "bring together (the) diverse perspectives and views" of those who have reached out to the Government with ideas for improving youth mental well-being, said Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee in a Facebook post on Feb 27.
CAREGIVER SUPPORT NETWORK
MOH will also be piloting a “structured system of support” for caregivers of persons with mental health conditions, announced Senior Minister of State for Health Amy Khor on Thursday.
“We must also not forget that the well-being of persons with mental health conditions often rests on the caregivers and the caregivers are at risk of burnout,” she said.
Hospitals and community partners will provide caregivers with information such as disease progression and expected care needs, and link them up with the necessary health, financial and social support services upon the first diagnosis of their loved ones, said Dr Khor.
“With this, we hope that caregivers will know upfront that they are not alone, that there is an entire network of support for them.”
In a separate press release, MOH said that the system will allow caregivers early access to community support, and be equipped with the skills and knowledge to care for their loved ones at home.
Dr Khor noted that MOH has set up 43 community outreach teams and trained more than 24,000 frontline workers to identify people with mental health needs and refer them to the appropriate support.
As of December, the ministry has reached out to more than 300,000 people and provided assistance to more than 23,000 who were at risk of developing mental health conditions or dementia, she added.
“Like a migraine or backache, we should seek help for mental health issues early, so as to avoid problems that are more challenging to address later on.”