Forum: Support network for mental health treatment needs attention

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

It has been reported that this year's President's Challenge will focus on helping those with mental health issues.

While this is a great cause, let us not just focus on the funding aspects. The support network for mental health treatment needs urgent attention as well, if my experience is anything to go by.

Last month, I took my daughter, a junior college student preparing to take her A-level examinations, to the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) as she was dealing with some psychological issues.

IMH referred her to the Health Promotion Board's (HPB) Child Guidance Clinic for a follow-up.

As the queue at the HPB for psychotherapy was long, the doctor directed her to the Clinical and Health Psychology Clinic (CHPC) at the National University of Singapore for psychotherapy with intern psychologists.

To date, the CHPC has been unable to give me an appointment date as its intern psychologists' schedule is full.

It has advised me to take my daughter to a hospital or private care service.

This incident highlights a lack of mental health professionals and of a good support network for mental health patients in Singapore.

As the population ages and the number of teen suicides rises, I hope the Ministry of Health will study the issue thoroughly and formulate a good plan to tackle mental health treatment.

Tiong Choon Hin

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 09, 2019, with the headline 'Support network for mental health treatment needs attention'. Print Edition | Subscribe