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Singapore looking at tiered system for mental health services to cater to different individuals

Senior Minister of State for Health Janil Puthucheary outlined efforts to improve mental health in Singapore at this year's CNA Leadership Summit, which throws the spotlight on mental health at work.

05:35 Min
Among the recurring themes at this year's CNA Leadership Summit on Mental Health @ Work was how to overcome the stigma around mental illness and better support its spectrum of conditions. Speaking at the summit on Monday (Oct 10), Senior Minister of State for Health Dr Janil Puthucheary said attitudes and behaviors need to change. Aslam Shah and Sherlyn Seah with more.

SINGAPORE: Today, a wide range of clinics, centres, and hotlines providing mental health services in Singapore means getting access to support has become easier.

However, for those seeking help, deciding which outlet to turn to might not be so straightforward, as these services are not clearly differentiated for different levels of need.

Speaking at the CNA Leadership Summit on Monday (Oct 10), Senior Minister of State for Health Janil Puthucheary said a proposed care model with a tiered system of services can help to improve accessibility, coordination, and quality of mental health services.

“From being at-risk to coping with difficult circumstances, to having mild illness, or subsequently deteriorating, or more hopefully, recovering, and integrating back into society with a hidden illness or risk,” he said.

“We must not consider these different archetypes and the challenges facing someone at different times of their life as being equivalent.”

Having a tiered system will also help to identify and endorse service providers to look after different groups of clients and patients with different needs, and standardise service provision, referrals, and care coordination, said Dr Puthucheary.

The new care model is one of 12 preliminary recommendations by the Interagency Taskforce on Mental Health and Well-being, which was set up in July last year to oversee and coordinate mental health efforts.

It proposes providing a tiered system of services ranging from peer support, general counselling, to more intensive psychological and psychiatric services.

Other recommendations include improving employment support for people with mental health conditions by providing training allowances and partnering companies to increase awareness on resources available.

The task force also recommended enhancing accessibility and the range of services for youth.

Dr Puthucheary said the taskforce is reviewing and analysing the feedback received from the public and will adjust its recommendations accordingly.

This will be incorporated into the National Mental Health and Well-being Strategy, which is set to be published next year.

Source: CNA/vl(rj)


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