Keeping a lookout for the distressed

The Early Psychosis Intervention Programme (EPIP) had just 120 new clients in its first financial year in 2001, but this has since grown to 270 for its latest financial year of 2015.

The rise was due to outreach programmes and other initiatives, said Assistant Professor Sujatha Rao, chief and senior consultant at EPIP at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH).

She said training provided to the institutes of higher learning, voluntary welfare groups, school counsellors and community partners has helped them keep a lookout for people who are distressed, and might benefit in seeking help early.

The Community Health Assessment Team (Chat), an outreach arm of EPIP, focuses on detecting the symptoms of distress and risk through a free mental health check service for youth aged 16 to 30.

Trained counsellors provide strictly confidential and free consultations at their centre, Chat Hub, in *Scape. It does not provide treatment but will make referrals to restructured hospitals and family service centres.

Rachel Oh

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 30, 2016, with the headline 'Keeping a lookout for the distressed'. Print Edition | Subscribe