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Corporations playing an essential role in promoting mental well-being in society

Speech by Mr Eric Chua, Parl Sec for Culture, Community and Youth & Social and Family Development at the Mindset Challenge and Carnival 2021.

Mr Ben Birks, Chairman, MINDSET Care Limited,
Mr James Tan, CEO, TOUCH Community Services,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

  1. Good Morning. Thank you for inviting me to join you today for the tenth edition of the MINDSET Challenge and Carnival.
  2. I am speaking from Level 33 of the Marina Bay Financial Centre, Tower 1. Every year, the Jardine Matheson Group organises a vertical race up this building to raise funds for mental health projects. This spot would have been the ending point if the vertical race could take place this year.
  3. However, to keep everyone safe, this year’s race will instead be a month-long vertical steps challenge. Although in a different format, the participants’ efforts are an equally commendable show of support for mental health.

    Mental Health Landscape in Singapore

  4. With the COVID-19 pandemic going on longer than we had hoped, we are seeing its negative impact on our mental well-being.
    Skills-based volunteerism has very tangible and intangible benefits not just to those who receive the benefits of volunteerism, but also to those who give.
  5. For example, according to polls conducted by the National Youth Council (NYC) between April and December last year, over half of the youth respondents indicated that mental health was a challenge1. In a new survey, nearly seven in 10 Singaporeans found 2021 to be the most stressful year at work, with over half struggling more with mental health in the workplace this year than in 20202.
  6. Therefore, initiatives to uplift the mental wellness of our community are critical at this time. And they are important as we build an inclusive and empathetic society for future generations.

    MINDSET’s Contributions to the Mental Health Space

  7. I would like to thank the Jardine Matheson Group of companies for its contributions in the mental health space through its registered charity, MINDSET.
    a. Since 2011, Jardines has donated over $8.2 million to mental health causes. MINDSET actively promotes mental wellness programmes, events and campaigns, and raises funds for mental health initiatives through engagement and partnerships.
    b. MINDSET also set up Singapore’s first job training and placement centre in 2016 to support persons-in-recovery with their employment. They have trained over 460 individuals in the last few years.
  8. In acknowledgement of their contributions in this space, Jardines received the 2021 President’s Volunteerism and Philanthropy Award under the Large Enterprise category. Congratulations!

    DigitalMINDSET – Helping Youths Affected by Gaming Addiction

  9. Today, we come together to not only raise awareness for mental health, but also to raise funds for DigitalMINDSET.
  10. Launched in August 2019, DigitalMINDSET is a collaboration between Jardines and TOUCH Community Services to help youths affected by excessive cyber gaming or use of technological devices.
  11. This area is a critical one, given the emotional and psychological challenges resulting from gaming and tech addictions.
  12. DigitalMINDSET helps support youths affected by these issues through a nine-month intervention programme.
    a. The programme takes a holistic approach, involving counselling, family casework, as well as group therapy sessions.

    b. The support of parents, friends, mental health professionals and community partners can significantly improve the recovery of youths.
    c. To date, over 140 youths, together with their families, have benefitted from the programme.

    Whole-of-Society Effort to Address Mental Well-being

  13. We need a whole-of-society effort to address the issue of mental well-being. The Government is committed to working with partners to support the mental well-being of our youths.
    a. Since February 2020, people from all walks of life have contributed to the Youth Mental Well-being Network. Network members have developed over 20 ground-up projects ranging from enhancing youths’ emotional resilience, to strengthening peer support, reaching out to families, workplaces and the community. You can find opportunities to partner network members on the REACH website.
    b. The Inter-agency Taskforce on Mental Health and Well-being is also bringing together different stakeholders to develop an overarching national strategy and action plan on mental health and well-being. As a member of this Taskforce, MCCY will work with stakeholders and agencies such as MOE, MOH and MSF to support our youths. 
  14. I am heartened to see many private sector partners here today. Companies also play an essential role in promoting mental well-being, such as by ensuring healthy workplaces, and rendering support to employees with mental health issues. Additionally, companies can equip employees with greater awareness and knowledge about mental health issues, who can then look out for their friends and family.
  15. I would like to take the opportunity to encourage you to continue collaborating with us and one another in this whole-of-society effort.

    In Conclusion

  16. Beyond these efforts, let us continue to encourage one another to be open about our challenges and extend empathy and support to those who need help. This is the spirit of SG Cares, where we look out for others and leave no one behind. Together, we can build a caring and cohesive society, and a Singapore that cares.
  17. I wish everyone an enjoyable carnival and a good weekend ahead.
  18. Thank you.
1NYC’s COVID-19 Youth Sentiment Tracker (April to December 2020). Throughout the polling period, approximately half of the youth respondents indicated that mental health was a challenge they faced due to the COVID-19 situation (53% indicated that mental health was a challenge in the week of 21 Dec). Feeling anxious over future uncertainty (56%), stress over finances (44%), and worries over work performance (41%) were youths’ top mental health stressors

2Survey done by computer software firm Oracle, from July to August 2021. 1000 Singaporean employees, managers and human resource leaders were surveyed in this yearly report, findings were released on 27 Oct 2021 (as reported in Today
Last updated on 09 November 2021