Do you think there’s generally an improvement in the stigma around mental health?
As we all will agree, “there is no health without mental health”. My view is that Singaporeans in general have become more comfortable to talk about mental health issues such as depression and dementia over time. This is a healthy development that helps to reduce the stigma related to mental health issues, and encourages those who need help to seek it.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought greater attention and focus to the importance of mental well-being, and supporting mental health of all of us. In particular, there has also been an increase in focus on supporting the mental wellbeing of seniors, especially seniors who may lack social or family support. Based on research, a key determinant of health is social engagement or interaction. Beyond these, we have indeed seen a greater focus on initiatives that support groups across the spectrum of ages, including working professionals at workplaces.
In AIC, we have been working hard with our partners to reach out and engage our seniors, particularly vulnerable ones, and provide care and support to them, including linking them up with befriending programmes to prevent social isolation. In addition, we partner with the Ministry of Health to develop the Community Mental Health masterplan to ensure that persons with mental health are well supported in the community. We work with our partners to build an integrated community mental health network across various care settings and sectors to support persons with mental health issues and their caregivers.