In light of the profound effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the psychological and mental state of people in different countries of the world, The Singapore Ministry of Health has launched an initiative aimed at promoting mental health, It includes an online portal to provide support to citizens, Develop a comprehensive strategy to regulate mental health care efforts along with a unified training framework to qualify competent specialists in this field.
The importance and role of mental health in the well-being of societies is beginning to become apparent. Governments are therefore redoubling their efforts to integrate them into public health policies. Especially since psychological and mental problems are predisposed to spread very quickly. The COVID-19 pandemic has provided a prime example of this, Temporary measures taken by governments to protect their citizens are soon becoming habits and convictions ingrained in their lives that affect their mental health. Variables such as fear of contagion, changing daily routines, social isolation and psychological stress resulting from poor economic conditions.
In Singapore, In-depth studies were conducted to measure the impact of the pandemic on the mental health of different segments of citizens, After the mental health institute's helpline saw a 50% increase in caller numbers compared to the year before the pandemic, Most expressed concerns about their need for emotional and psychological support as well as family and social affairs. To learn more, The Institute conducted a survey of one thousand citizens, In order to assess the psychological repercussions of the pandemic and the psychological responses of the population to it, It found that approximately 13% of participants experienced symptoms of depression or anxiety between the beginning of the summer of 2020 and the middle of the following summer.
To address the situation generated by the pandemic, The mental health team at the Singapore Ministry of Health held meetings during which it reviewed the psychosocial impacts of the pandemic. He noted that the multiplicity of sources of information on the Internet makes it even more confusing and makes it harder to get to the truth, This was confirmed by the panel discussions conducted by the Youth Mental Health Network.
The team came out of its meetings with recommendations issued in 2020, In light of them, The Ministry, through the Health Promotion Council, launched a project to establish an electronic portal for psychological and mental resources.
The portal comes as a step in a long journey aimed at mental health and early intervention, It aims to identify the best ways to help young people face various challenges, cultivate a culture of seeking professional help in relation to mental health, Emphasize the breadth of education and career support.
The portal will be named "Health Center", It will be supervised by experts in providing scientific content that will serve as a resource for information seekers to improve their lives and the lives of their loved ones. This will be done through a website, smartphone applications and other electronic services.
This initiative is one of the means adopted by the government to address the consequences of the pandemic on the mental health of young people. The National Youth Council reached alarming results after conducting surveys from April 2020 until the end of the year, during which it monitored the feelings of the youth group towards the pandemic. 39% shared concerns about academic performance or job security. While 41% expressed suffering from financial resource constraints. 53% said they were concerned about the future overall.
Besides the portal, The mental health team made several other recommendations, Among them is the development of a training framework for the preparation and qualification of specialized cadres at the national level, By establishing uniform standards and clear levels of competencies expected of mental health care providers, In addition to reviewing, revising and standardizing educational curricula. Mental health professionals have begun designing training programs in line with the proposed framework.
The group also recommended the development of a comprehensive national strategy on mental health to set overall objectives and guide the efforts of agencies and organizations that are active. By involving citizens through public consultations to be held next year to finalize the strategy, The Ministry of Health will continue to work with various entities to follow up on implementation and measure impacts and challenges. and coordinate efforts on cross-cutting issues.
The Singapore Government pays particular attention to assessing the mental health of older persons because of the serious consequences of infection. The "Singapore Life Panel", which captures vital aspects of the lives of Singaporeans, covered older groups, A study conducted by the University of Singapore Centre for Successful Ageing Research launched She indicated that the elderly had experienced sharp increases in feelings of isolation in conjunction with the lockdown measures, These phenomena have also reached alarming levels for those living alone.
It is worth noting that the Australian government was the first to launch a mental health portal that focuses on digital aspects and provides an automated chat program to guide users. Along with a one-stop shop for the most trusted options and resources among mental health providers in the country, These resources include free or low-cost applications, It guides site visitors to support pools and online or phone courses. But the Singaporean government's efforts have paid special attention to the health of young people due to findings in mental health surveys about the urgent need for their support.
After the national hotline received tens of thousands of calls, The Institute of Mental Health staff supported many who face mental health concerns and coping mechanisms for the new post-COVID-19 reality. The Singapore authorities hope that a unified strategy supported by qualified cadres will establish a solid system capable of containing and supporting the psychological problems of citizens. To serve a further goal in achieving real development for a healthy society.