Forum: Oversight on IMH's part led to delay

Posed photo of a person with depression.
Posed photo of a person with depression.PHOTO: ST FILE

We thank Mr Tiong Choon Hin for his feedback (Support network for mental health treatment needs attention, Oct 9).

We are sorry for the delay faced by his daughter when she was referred by the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) for psychotherapy follow-up at the Clinical and Health Psychology Clinic (CHPC) at the National University of Singapore.

IMH has a triage system in place to assess the severity of patients' condition before appointments for psychotherapy services are allocated.

Patients whose condition are more severe or who require more urgent attention are given earlier appointments.

To improve access to care, IMH also works with a network of community partners to provide care for persons with mental health needs.

As our doctor had assessed that Mr Tiong's daughter would benefit from community-based psychotherapy, we made a referral for her to receive help at the CHPC, which offers psychology services.

Unfortunately, the CHPC, too, had a waitlist. Our staff should have checked before making the referral and we apologise for this lapse.

We have since reached out to Mr Tiong to ensure his daughter receives supportive counselling at a family service centre until her appointment with an IMH psychologist.

We thank Mr Tiong and his daughter for their patience.

Mental health services and support are available in the community for those with milder mental health conditions.

IMH works closely with the polyclinics, general practitioners, mental health social service agencies and family service centres to build capability and ensure that, together, we provide mental health care that is in the right setting, accessible and affordable.

Ong Say How (Dr)

Chief, Department of Developmental Psychiatry

Institute of Mental Health

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 14, 2019, with the headline 'Oversight on IMH's part led to delay'. Print Edition | Subscribe