More needs to be done for Mental Health in Singapore

Posted on January 9, 2014

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

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]

Daniel Fung, chairman of medical board at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH), in his presentation “Child Psychiatry without Psychiatry: developing a comprehensive youth mental health system that is cost effective for Singapore”, at the 8th public health and occupational medicine conference discussed the issue recently.

While discussing the state of mental health disorders in children, Fung noted the rise in number of cases from 533 in 1980 to 3051 in 2010. Fung also noted the number of potential patients with mental health disorders among children to be more than 87,000 as the population below 15 years stands at 878,148.

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Category(s):Child Development, Mental Health in Asia

Source material from The Independent