Ending the mental health stigma in Singapore

Author: Sophie-Marie Odum | Date: 12 Oct 2016

New learning hub will train up to 300 people with mental health conditions each year

Singapore is helping people with mental health conditions find a job by offering support, training and qualifications through its new learning hub.
 
The Mindset Learning Hub offers mental wellness programmes and peer support from the Singapore Association for Mental Health (SAMH). Individuals will also be able to take Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) courses and benefit from job placement support in the hospitality, healthcare, cleaning, retail and food and beverage sectors.
 
Minister for culture, community and youth Grace Fu said: “With proper training facilities, skills certification, and with job opportunities provided, I think this is a real support system that we've been awaiting for a long time.”
 
Fu is urging companies to offer jobs to people with mental health conditions, as well as encourage employees to volunteer at the centre, which hopes to play a part in ending the stigma around mental ill-health at work.
 
She added: “That's a good model of corporate philanthropy which we really want corporate Singapore to step up to – it's not just financial resources that we require, but also a lot of manpower to support the patients.”
 
Jardine Matheson Group employees will provide training in interviewing and resume writing, workplace communication, money management and personal grooming. The facility aims to train up to 300 people with mental health conditions a year.
 
Meanwhile, financial issues are causing many mid-career Malaysian civil servants to seek counselling to deal with stress, according to psychologists.
 
The pressure of building a family, having more children, buying a house and taking loans make individuals aged between 30 and 40 the most likely to seek help, according to Dr Abdul Jalil Hassan, senior deputy director (psychology management) at the Public Services Department.
 
Most individuals were turning to counselling voluntarily, but some were referred by their managers, said Hassan at the opening of the 2016 Public Service Psychology Conference.
 
Stress levels among civil servants, in general, were stable, he added. But stress – one of the main causes of mental health problems – is expected to become world's number one illness by 2020.