Launch of the National Mental Health and Well-Being Strategy
Opening Remarks by Mr Alvin Tan, Minister of State, Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth & Ministry of Trade and Industry, at the Launch of the National Mental Health and Well-Being Strategy on 5 October 2023
11 October 2023
Good afternoon, everybody. Welcome to the press conference.
We have seen that mental health and well-being issues are not unique to Singapore; it is a challenge that is afflicting many parts of the world as lifestyles and pressures of everyday work come into play.
What you see today is a coordinated strategy across many different players: from the healthcare sector to the social sector, to schools, to workplaces, and also to the community. I think this is where Singapore is strong, because we are able to coordinate across different sectors and segments.
My colleagues and I have mentioned the same phrases: peer supporters, destigmatising, raising awareness, and strengthening capabilities. This is because these are cross-cutting across all the agencies.
My focus today will be on the communications and efforts in the community.
Strengthening mental health communications and engagement
It is not just about healthcare, but it is also ensuring that there is care across
the different tiers – from healthcare all the way to the community – so that
those who need help and those who want to also afford help are able to do so
in a concerted manner.
One way to do so, and one way to raise awareness and destigmatise mental
well-being and mental health, is through communications.
As everybody is doing many different things, we want to do better in
communications. One of the ways that we plan to do so is to launch a communications toolkit. This is something which will be developed in
consultation with our partners.
The communications toolkit will have four different segments – parents,
teachers, working adults, and youth – to help everyone understand the
different areas where you can seek help and also provide help. This is to
better strengthen and coordinate communication.
Increasing mental well-being efforts in the general community
The second part is on community.
Many of you might know that during the height of COVID-19, the youths
themselves rallied together, and they set up the Youth Mental Well-Being
Network. It comprised about 1,500 youths.
But we all know that mental health and well-being issues do not only afflict
youths, nor do they only concern our youths. It is something which all of us, in
certain forms, face. Therefore, last July we expanded the Youth Mental Well-
Being Network to the SG Mental Well-Being Network.
Within this Network we have a variety of different partners who are very
passionate about mental well-being. They are trained in handling mental well-
being issues, and also have been in this space for many years. They are our
social sector organisations, the Health Promotion Board, the National Council
of Social Service (NCSS) , and Institute of Mental Health (IMH). We also have
new ground-ups, and different youth sector organisations that have joined SG
Mental Well-Being Network. I will give you a few examples. We have Calm
Collective, Campus PSY, Limitless, Happiness Initiative, Growthbeans – or
Growth Collective as a whole – Mental ACT, and many others in this space.
In fact, the Network organises Partners’ Networking Nights rather often, where
they come together to exchange best practices, to also link and network so that the community has more access paths into what they are doing, and they
can also do more in the community.
Now, one of the key deliverables of the SG Mental Well-Being Network is what
we call the Well-Being Circles. They are in-situ in the community, and this
allows us in the community, together with these partners from the Network, to
do three things:
First, to raise awareness and destigmatise.
Second, to provide safe spaces and platforms for different groups to
share their struggles, and to share best practices.
Third, and this is most important because it is also tied in with the
National Competency and Training Framework, is to train peer
supporters, and also to train individuals to help one another; to bolster
their own strength and their own mental health and mental well-being.
Thus far, we have six Well-Being Circles. They are in Kolam Ayer, Bukit Batok
East, Punggol West, Zhenghua, The Red Box near *SCAPE, as well as in my
own constituency, Moulmein-Cairnhill. We will be also setting up three more of
these Well-Being Circles in Yuhua, Cheng San-Seletar, and Nee Soon South.
We have already trained about 500 citizens and have partnered over 30
If you look at what we are doing in concert across all of the different
segments, across healthcare, the social sector, schools, and workplaces, the
community indeed forms a very strong and important segment which we have
been focusing on.