More needs to be done to address Youth Mental Health Issues in Singapore

Posted on December 6, 2013

While a majority of children in Singapore have better material comforts than their counterparts elsewhere, studies on their mental health are not so encouraging.

When some international surveys [read Gallup] proclaim that Singapore is the least emotional country in the world, the common rebuttal is because life here is tough, residents are too stressed to care. But if this stress is being transferred to the younger generation as well, it’s time to take note, and may be, initiate corrective actions.

Few years ago, a study had indicated that while one in eight children in Singapore have emotional disorders, and one in 20 have behavioural disorders, only 10% ever see a psychiatrist. The study, “Emotional and behavioural problems in Singaporean children based on parent, teacher and child reports,” also noted that up to 17.2% of primary school children have symptoms of depression.[Woo et al 2007 Singapore Med J]

In another study of 600 children aged between 6-12 years, “Suicidal behaviour in children and adolescents – prevalence and risk factors”, done by doctors of the Institute of Mental Health (IMH), Singapore, it was reported that 22% of those surveyed indicated having harboured suicidal tendencies. [Liew et al, 2009]

Another startling figure comes from the IMH’s Reach scheme, which set up as a hotline for schools in 2007. The numbers of calls to the hotline reached over 8,000 in 2011 from a modest 306 in its initial year. Even the number of children refereed to Reach by schools rose to 739 from just 14 in the same four years.

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Category(s):Mental Health in Asia

Source material from Free Malaysia Today