Forum: Schools' role in youth mental health

It is heartening to see more teenagers and young adults seeking help for mental health issues during these unprecedented times (Youth with mental health problems stay strong under Covid-19, ST Online, Sept 5).

I have been given a break from school and the isolation has been immensely beneficial to my mental health. Beyond establishing boundaries, having coping strategies and going to trusted adults, schools also play an essential role in checking on their students' well-being and creating a healthy learning environment through online means, school counsellors, surveys or other means.

Overall, it was a relief to read that the chance for self-reflection through isolation has had an overall positive effect on youth seeking help. Being away from their social circles and confined to home has simultaneously increased the severity of existing issues and induced new ones.

I wish for fellow teenagers to stay resilient and push through these lonely and tiring days.

Yew Jien Lynn, 16

Secondary 4 student


Support those with mental health issues

The awareness surrounding mental health issues is inadequate, and more can be done to ensure that people struggling with their mental health do not feel isolated.

The coronavirus situation has forced many people to be stuck at home, making those with mental health issues feel alone.

We should make it clear that they are not alone and that they have a wide network of support systems to turn to.

I have seen people who need help but are too afraid to ask for it for fear of showing their vulnerability.

As a society, we should be more inclusive and not judge people based on their mental health status. Their condition should not be seen as a disability that makes them inferior to others.

Understanding that it is okay not to be okay will help many people speak up about their mental well-being and encourage them to seek help.

Chan Sze Yin, 12,

Secondary 1 student


CALLING YOUNG READERS: If you are a student or aged 21 years or below, and want to air your opinion on any report or letter in The Straits Times, e-mail your letter to stforum@sph.com.sg, with the subject header "Voices of Youth". Do include your age, school level and contact details, and the headline of the report/letter you refer to. Please keep to a length of 250 words.