Forum: Set up dedicated distress hotline for Covid-19 issues

The Resilience Budget is indeed extraordinary, given how comprehensive it is (Another $48.4b to weather 'mighty storm' caused by virus, March 27).

The medical, economic and social sectors were thoughtfully considered, and helpful and innovative plans were outlined to deal with each of them.

One area which hasn't been addressed is the emotional impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on Singaporeans. More citizens are worried about their jobs and their future. There are a number of factors likely to affect the emotional state of individuals to varying degrees.

These include the quarantine and stay-home notice measures' impact on the persons affected and the impact on families; working from home, and how this affects family relationships; imposed isolation's impact on singles or single parents who no longer have the companionship of colleagues; and restrictions on entertainment and ways to chill out.

There are no easy solutions, but perhaps a national hotline can be established, along the lines of SOS (Samaritans of Singapore). Volunteers, who could perhaps be paid honorariums, will, I believe, step forward. I'm sure many professional counsellors will step up. Others may just have a strong interest to help.

All must either undergo orientation or be trained quickly to equip themselves to respond to queries relating to Covid-19.

This hotline can be called "I'm Not Alone".

Perhaps this important area can come under the Ministry of Social and Family Development or any other appropriate ministry, or even the Prime Minister's Office.

Eric Lee

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