Over 800 individuals have taken part in the public consultation conducted by the Interagency Taskforce on Mental Health and Well-being to seek views on its preliminary recommendations to enhance the mental health and well-being of Singaporeans. Dr Janil Puthucheary, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Health, shared this on the sidelines of a visit to a small group engagement session on 25 July 2022 with staff and frontline practitioners of social service agencies.
2. Since 30 May 2022, the Taskforce has been engaging members of the public and key stakeholders on 12 preliminary recommendations spanning across three focus areas:
(a) Improving accessibility, coordination and quality of mental health services;
(b) Strengthening services and support for youth mental well-being; and
(c) Improving workplace well-being measures and employment support.
Please refer to the Annex for the 12 preliminary recommendations.
3. To date, over 400 individuals representing stakeholders across different profiles and sectors have taken part in the small group engagement sessions. These stakeholders include youths, parents, healthcare institutions, social service agencies, employers, and persons with mental health conditions and their caregivers. In addition, close to 400 individuals have contributed their views through the online survey hosted on the REACH website.
4. The feedback received from respondents on the preliminary recommendations has been generally constructive and positive. For example,
a) Focus Area 1 – Accessibility, coordination and quality of mental health services: Stakeholders welcomed the suggestion for frontline workers to be equipped with mental health skills and knowledge to better identify signs and symptoms of mental health distress among their clients. The respondents indicated that such training in mental health would enable them to be more effective and confident at encouraging their clients with needs to seek help.
b) Focus Area 2 – Strengthening mental health services and support for clients: Stakeholders agreed that the proposed care model which provides a tiered system of mental health services would be useful to cater to the varying mental health needs of the population. It would also allow clients to access quality care that is appropriate to their needs in a timely manner. The tiered system would need to be accompanied with relevant enablers, such as a common competency framework for staff to guide manpower training and development, and as well as standardised assessment and referral processes, to be implemented.
c) Focus Area 3 – Improving employment support for persons with mental health conditions: Feedback garnered called for a shift in mental model away from a one-size-fits-all approach, to one that actively supports customisation of vocational training and in-employment support, to better meet the needs of every individual. Beyond increasing awareness of mental health and well-being practices among organisations, it is also important to facilitate the translation of knowledge into supportive behaviours for leaders, supervisors and co-workers.
5. We will continue to collate feedback from more stakeholders in the upcoming small group engagements and the REACH portal. The feedback will allow us to finetune preliminary recommendations and ensure that they are relevant to the population.
6. The public consultation on the Taskforce’s preliminary recommendations will be held until 7 August 2022. We encourage more to step forward to share their views with us via go.gov.sg/mental-health. Findings from the public consultation will go towards the development of the National Mental Health and Well-being Strategy, which will be published next year.
MINISTRY OF HEALTH
25 JULY 2022