Crisis hotline set up at height of COVID-19 pandemic to cease by the end of the year
From 8pm on Dec 31, callers to the National Care Hotline will be directed to alternative helplines.
SINGAPORE: A hotline that was set up by the Government during the COVID-19 "circuit breaker" to help those mentally affected by the pandemic will cease operations on Dec 31.
From 8pm that day, callers to the National Care Hotline (NCH) will be directed other helplines, including those supported by Institute of Mental Health and Samaritans of Singapore.
In a statement on Friday (Dec 2) by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF), which together with the Health Ministry launched the hotline in April 2020, the number of calls has fallen sharply.
"As of Nov 1, 2022, more than 76,500 calls have been made to the hotline – emotional support, mental health issues, as well as marital and family issues have been the top concerns consistently surfaced by callers," said MSF.
The National Care Hotline was set up during the circuit breaker as a COVID-19 crisis support hotline to provide psychological first aid to individuals who experience emotional distress related to the pandemic.
In Sep 2020, the operating hours were shortened - 8am to midnight, after a fall in middle-of-the-night calls and volunteer pool. The hours were further adjusted to 8am to 8pm in January 2022 when call volumes stabilised.
With the easing of safe management measures and the transition to living with COVID-19, there has been an 85 per cent decrease in the number of calls received in October 2022, compared with May 2020, said MSF.
Since its launch, more than 900 mental health professionals, social service professionals and trained volunteers have manned the hotline.
The hotline is currently managed by social service professionals and trained volunteers from Viriya Community Services.
The alternative helplines for assistance include:
- Care Corner Counselling Centre (for Mandarin speakers) (1800 3535 800)
- Fei Yue’s Online Counselling Service (eC2.sg)
- Viriya Therapy Centre (6256 1311)
Marital and Parenting Issues
- Community Psychology Hub’s Online Counselling Platform (CPHOnlineCounselling.sg)
- Hear4U (WhatsApp 6978 2728)
- Institute of Mental Health’s Mental Health Helpline (6389-2222) (24-hour)
- SAGE Counselling Centre The Seniors Helpline (1800 555 5555)
- Samaritans of Singapore (Hotline: 1-767; CareText: WhatsApp 9151 1767) (24-hour)
- Singapore Association for Mental Health Helpline (1800 283 7019)
- Silver Ribbon Singapore (6386 1928)
- Tinkle Friend (7 to 12 years) (1800 2744 788)
Reporting of Violence or Abuse
- National Anti-Violence & Sexual Harassment Helpline (1800 777 0000) (24-hour)