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Initiatives to Equip People with Mental Health First Aid


Mr Christopher de Souza
MP for Holland–Bukit Timah GRC


To ask the Minister for Health whether the Ministry will consider rolling out initiatives to equip people with mental health first aid.

Written Answer

Mental health first aid involves equipping individual with the skills and knowledge to recognise common mental health problem, provide initial support, and guide the person with mental health issues towards appropriate professional help.

In this regard, the Government has been actively promoting mental health literacy and awareness of mental health conditions in the population. In schools, the Health Promotion Board (HPB) offers psycho-emotional programmes and peer supporter training to promote the understanding of mental health and support those who need help. In 2021, the Ministry of Education will also introduce the enhanced Character and Citizenship Education (CCE) which will feature mental health education to teach students on maintaining their wellbeing, better understand and recognise mental health problems and symptoms, and know when and how to seek help and support.

At workplaces, HPB runs a management training workshop to equip managers and human resource personnel with the knowledge to recognise staff facing difficulties at work and may need help, and be supportive leaders at their workplace. HPB also rolled out the Workplace Outreach Wellness (WOW) Package to help companies co-fund and implement health promotion programmes such as mental wellness workshops to enable their staff to better cope with stress at work.

In the community, HPB and MCCY are implementing a “Brave the New” campaign targeting the general population exposed to varying levels of stress and adjustment challenges arising from COVID-19. The campaign aims to help people recognise negative emotions, equip them with coping tips, and normalise help-seeking behaviours. The Ministry of Health Office for Healthcare Transformation also launched, a stress management and coping website that consolidates access to resources to improve mental well-being. The website includes a wellbeing self-assessment tool for users to conduct a self-assessment of their stress level; users will be guided along appropriate pathways of intervention and support based on the assessment outcomes.

For social service providers, the Social Service Institute runs the E.M.B.R.A.C.E. Mental Health course which aims to equip providers with knowledge on the signs and symptoms of common mental health conditions and how to properly communicate and provide support to persons with mental health issues.

In addition, the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) has developed mental health awareness e-learning modules to equip key stakeholders such as frontline officers and community partners with the knowledge and skills to identify signs and symptoms of mental health and know where to go for help. AIC has also set up community outreach teams to actively reach out and provide early identification and community support for persons with mental health needs.

Ministry of Health recognise the importance of mental health first aid in the population and will continue to work with agencies and community partners to expand the outreach of our efforts.

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