Voices of Youth: Don't neglect mental health of university students

It is gut-wrenching to think that it took the death of a student and the charging of another in court to spark a nationwide conversation about the mental health of Singapore's young people.

But I am heartened to read about the timely parliamentary debates and the overwhelming attention that has been put into investigating the state of mental health in our schools.

Increasing counselling resources, tackling the stigma around the issue and even training teachers to better support students with mental health challenges are commendable initiatives.

However, as a university student, I am deeply concerned that many of the ongoing debates and conversations are centred on primary, secondary and pre-university students, with little regard for the mental health challenges faced by university students as well.

After all, it is only logical to think that the mental health problems present in our formative schooling years, when left unaddressed, may worsen at university.

While the approach taken towards younger and older students may differ, the reality is that many of the mental health triggers, stressors and barriers that students face in schools and in universities are largely similar.

To that end, I urge the Education Ministry and our parliamentarians to adopt a more inclusive approach in their discussions and to take comprehensive steps to tackle mental health deficits within all parts of the local education landscape, before it becomes too late.

Madhumitha Ayyappan, 21

Year 3 university student