Digital resources available to help parents learn about children's mental well-being: Eric Chua

1,500 individuals also came together to start the Youth Mental Well-Being Network last year.
1,500 individuals also came together to start the Youth Mental Well-Being Network last year.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

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

These include the Share-the-Care 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.

Families for Life is a people-sector council under the Ministry of Social and Family Development, comprising 15 volunteers from the people and private sectors.

On top of that, the Temasek Foundation and Agency for Integrated Care has developed a microsite to address mental health challenges arising from the Covid-19 pandemic, Mr Chua said.

Called MyMentalHealth, the website is a repository of articles and resources to help caregivers and parents manage mental health stress.

Mr Chua was responding in Parliament to Ms Carrie Tan (Nee Soon GRC), who had asked about inter-ministry efforts to promote youth mental health awareness among parents.

On the reach of the Triple P, he said more than 30,000 parents had benefited from the programme to date. After three months, parents reported a 20 per cent reduction in their children's scores for problematic behaviour, as well as their own parenting stress scores.

Parents can sign up for the programme by contacting the Parenting Support Providers serving their child’s school or region, or approach the child’s school teacher-in-charge of parenting programmes.

He added that more than 1,500 individuals - including young people, parents and mental health professionals - also came together to start the Youth Mental Well-Being Network last year. This network is supported by the Ministry for Social and Family Development, as well as the Health and Education ministries.

"We have parents coming back to tell us that they now have greater parenting competence," he added.

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.