Parliament Debate on ministries’ budgets: Education

A variety of resources available to ensure children's mental health

Parents today can tap a variety of digital resources to better support their children's mental health, said Parliamentary Secretary for Social and Family Development Eric Chua yesterday.

These include the Share-the-Care online video series by Families for Life, which covers topics such as building strong family relationships, as well as his ministry's Positive Parenting Programme (Triple P) that outlines evidence-based techniques to promote children's psychological, social and emotional competence.

Also, the Temasek Foundation and Agency for Integrated Care have developed a microsite to address mental health challenges arising from the Covid-19 pandemic, Mr Chua said. Called MyMentalHealth, it is a repository of articles and resources to help caregivers and parents manage mental health stress.

Ms Carrie Tan (Nee Soon GRC) had asked about inter-ministry efforts to promote youth mental health awareness among parents.

On the reach of the Triple P, he said over 30,000 parents have benefited to date. After three months, parents reported a 20 per cent reduction in their children's scores for problematic behaviour, and their own parenting stress scores.

Parents can sign up by contacting the parenting support providers serving their child's school or region, or approach the teacher-in-charge of parenting programmes at the child's school.

Mr Chua added that over 1,500 individuals - including young people, parents and mental health professionals - came together to start the Youth Mental Well-Being Network last year. "We have parents coming back to tell us that they now have greater parenting competence," he said.

Ms Tan then asked if there are plans to take such programmes offline and into the real world, especially for parents who may not "naturally gravitate" towards finding information online.

Online platforms are being heavily used at present given the ongoing pandemic, Mr Chua replied, but added that his ministry will nevertheless work with community partners as much as possible.

Linette Lai

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 04, 2021, with the headline 'A variety of resources available to ensure children's mental health'. Subscribe