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  • Sugimoto Shoujin

Introduction to Mental Health in Singapore

Is one of your new year's resolutions good health? How do you define good health then? Physical health? Or mental health as well?

According to a study done by COVID-19 Mental Wellness Task Force in 2020, more than half of Singapore’s youth population, or 52%, reported that they struggle with mental health issues. The top stressor reported by youths include anxiety for the future (53%), stress over finances (41%), and worries about academic performance (39%).

Poor mental health leads to poor decision making, negative thoughts and behavior in turn, substance abuse, self-hurt, aggressive behaviors towards others, poor physical health, amongst a myriad of other possible consequences. With poor mental health, productivity decreases and interpersonal relationships deprive. All these will inevitably take a toll on Singapore’s economy and landscape.

In another study done by the Institute of Mental Health in 2020, it was discovered that during the COVID pandemic, 8.7% of respondents met the criteria for clinical depression, while a further 9.3% met the criteria for mild to severe stress, and a further 9.4% met the criteria for clinical anxiety. This research shone light on the mental health landscape in Singapore, calling the dire need for intervention.

Everybody is bound to have worries and problems. In fact, challenges are parts and parcels of everyone’s life. However, mental health relates to how we think, feel and act as we cope in face of stress, difficulties and hardship. Many people do not know the appropriate actions to take or have a proper understanding of the importance of mental health. More critically, many underprivileged people are not placed in an environment that cultivates good mental health and healthy beliefs and actions.

Underlying this issue is another bigger problem - the link between mental health and poverty. As well evidenced in multiple research, mental health issues are correlated to poverty. This is because struggling financially can give rise to stressors and in turn mental health issues, and having mental health issues can ultimately lead to poverty due to discrimination in employment and reduced ability to work, leading to a vicious cycle of life.

It is important to take responsibility for your mental health. It is crucial to recognise when to seek help - whether it is for yourself or your loved ones.

Following this line of argument, it is thus safe to conclude that the underprivileged are one of the groups most significantly impacted by COVID-19. This is because COVID-19 has a greater likelihood of threatening their source of income (through wages, loss of jobs, increasing costs of living etc). This loss in the source of income can spill over to the entire household of individuals, especially in underprivileged families.

Furthermore, COVID-19 has also put low-income children in the limelight, for being unable to afford digital devices themselves to switch to online learning (in the absence of governmental intervention). This can further damage the dignity and autonomy of these young underprivileged children, putting them at a greater risk of early onset of a mental illness.

Therefore, to continue to serve the underprivileged communities in Singapore, Rental Hearts is undergoing a series of mental health campaigns, in the hope to raise awareness of this issue, among the public, and most importantly, the underprivileged communities in Singapore.

Done By: Sugimoto Shoujin

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