8th Jan 2021
We thank Ms Nico Le for her letter (Don’t neglect less severe mental health cases, Jan 4). We share her view that all individuals with mental healthcare needs should have access to timely and suitable support.
At hospitals, patients are triaged to ensure that the care provided is appropriate to their medical needs. This allows more urgent and complex cases to benefit from specialist care in hospitals.
To ensure that persons with mental health conditions can access care closer to home, we have been strengthening mental health services in primary and community-based settings.
As part of the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) Community Mental Health Masterplan, we have been setting up mental health services in polyclinics, and gradually building up the capabilities of general practitioners (GPs) to manage persons with mild to moderate mental health conditions.
To date, more than 220 GP partners have been trained to identify, diagnose and manage persons with mental health conditions in the community.
School counsellors are trained to identify students who are in need and refer them to appropriate mental health professionals for school-based interventions.
In the community, young people can also tap the Community Health Assessment Team (CHAT) online webchat service run by a group of mental health professionals for young people with mental health concerns. CHAT also provides free mental health assessment at the drop-in centre at *SCAPE.
Mental well-being is a multifaceted issue. A whole-of-society approach is necessary to promote good mental well-being and address mental health issues.
MOH will continue to work with the various stakeholders to ensure that we provide holistic and timely support for persons with mental healthcare needs.
Jeannie Tey (Dr)
Director, Health Services
Integration and Development
Ministry of Health