Build a culture of looking out for one another in the social service sector: President Halimah

President Halimah Yacob urged social service professionals to encouraging colleagues with anxiety or depression to seek help. PHOTO ILLUSTRATION: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The Covid-19 pandemic has created an urgent need for young leaders in the social service sector to build a culture of looking out for one another and encouraging colleagues with anxiety or depression to seek help, said President Halimah Yacob on Thursday (Sept 16).

She was speaking at the third edition of the National Council of Social Service's 40-under-40 Young Leaders' Dialogue.

The three-day event, which ends on Friday, is meant to empower young, promising leaders to work together to shape the sector's future as well as leverage on newfound connections to make changes in their agencies and the social service sector.

The participants are also interacting with and learning from, in closed-door dialogues, Minister for Social and Family Development and Second Minister for Health Masagos Zulkifli, Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin, National Youth Council chief executive David Chua and PSA International group chief executive Tan Chong Meng.

Madam Halimah noted that in the pursuit of innovating and serving Singaporeans, social service professionals should not forget about self-care, as their own mental health and welfare have to be cared for.

She said: "During the pandemic, social service professionals have been working tirelessly to ensure continuity of services to those who need help. With the increase in demand for social services, it is natural that some of our colleagues might experience anxiety and depression."

She called for them to look out for one another and encourage those who need help to seek the necessary services such as counselling.

"As young leaders in the sector, I urge everyone to build this culture within your organisations," she said.

She noted that social issues were increasingly complex even before the pandemic, which has accelerated the changes.

To keep up, the sector has to change the way it operates and delivers its services.

There also has to be a shift towards more collaboration in providing social services, said Madam Halimah.

She added that with tighter resources, there is also an urgent need to work together, and social service agencies should hence look for strategic collaborations with companies and public sector agencies to create a positive impact at the national level.

She told the participants: "Young leaders like yourselves can also play a part, by exploring opportunities for inter-agency or inter-sector partnerships which will create synergy and benefit service users more."


National Care Hotline: 1800-202-6868 (8am - 12am)

Mental well-being

Institute of Mental Health's Mental Health Helpline: 6389-2222 (24 hours)
Samaritans of Singapore: 1800-221-4444 (24 hours) /1-767 (24 hours)
Singapore Association for Mental Health: 1800-283-7019
• Silver Ribbon Singapore: 6386-1928

• Tinkle Friend: 1800-274-4788 and
• Community Health Assessment Team 6493-6500/1 and


• TOUCHline (Counselling): 1800-377-2252
• TOUCH Care Line (for seniors, caregivers): 6804-6555
• Care Corner Counselling Centre: 1800-353-5800

Online resources
My Mental Health
Fei Yue's Online Counselling Service

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