NOTICE PAPER NO.1493
NOTICE OF QUESTION FOR ORAL ANSWER
FOR THE SITTING OF PARLIAMENT ON 7 NOVEMBER 2022
Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament
Ms Nadia Ahmad Samdin
MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC
Question No. 3710
To ask the Minister for Health (a) whether there are concerted plans to increase awareness of elderly mental health challenges including depression; and (b) whether the Government will consider developing materials in mother tongue or dialect that are easy to understand and made accessible for the elderly and caregivers.
Under the Community Mental Health Masterplan, the Ministry of Health works with various stakeholders, including the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) and Social Service Agencies (SSAs) to outreach and provide mental health information and support to individuals, including seniors, in the community through the community outreach teams (CREST). As of December 2021, 68 teams have been set up and have reached out to over 510,000 persons.
The Silver Generation Ambassadors engage seniors in the community through home visits and phone calls, including seniors who may be lonely or socially isolated. Seniors who exhibit signs of depression or are in low spirits are referred to mental health support service providers such as CREST for further assessment and intervention.
The Health Promotion Board (HPB) also conducts mental well-being workshops known as ‘Balik Kampung’ for seniors in the community. These workshops help seniors to keep socially connected and mentally stimulated to reduce their risk of developing mental health conditions such as depression. The workshops also highlight tips on staying mentally well and share about resources available in the community so that seniors can seek help early, if required.
Efforts are made to cater to seniors and caregivers who do not speak English as their main language. For instance, CREST conducts outreach in mother tongue or dialect to reach out to different target audiences. In addition, SSAs develop materials to better cater to the needs of their clientele groups. For example, Club HEAL has resources available in both English and Malay for both clients and their caregivers.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) will continue to work closely with our partners to increase mental health awareness among seniors and ensure that the support and resources are relevant to their needs.