Fewer calls, so shorter operating hours for National Care Hotline

A hotline set up in April to provide psychological and emotional support to people amid the coronavirus pandemic will no longer be operating 24 hours daily from Sept 1, after a decline in middle-of-the-night calls.

In a Facebook post yesterday, Minister for Social and Family Development Masagos Zulkifli said that over 27,900 calls have been made to the National Care Hotline since it began operations on April 10 amid the circuit breaker measures.

The number of calls decreased by about 42 per cent after the circuit breaker ended in early June, he said. Calls received from midnight to 8am have also declined.

Mr Masagos said that from Sept 1, the hotline will operate from 8am to midnight daily.

The change also comes as some of the volunteers who man the hotline, numbering around 900, have resumed work and other commitments during the second phase of the reopening of the economy and are not able to take on as many shifts as before.

"These revised operating hours will help us to continue to meet the needs of most of our callers while optimising our volunteer pool," said Mr Masagos.

Those who need support after midnight and call the hotline will be greeted by an interactive voice recording, he added. The recording will guide the callers to contact 24-hour crisis hotlines such as the Institute of Mental Health's helpline and the Samaritans of Singapore's hotline.

Mr Masagos also thanked the hotline volunteers for selflessly providing psychological and emotional support to members of the public who called in.

Most of the callers were adults above 21 years old, and their top concerns pertained to mental health, as well as marital and family disputes, he said.

The hotline initiative is still recruiting volunteers.

Trained mental health professionals equipped with psychological first aid skills and have crisis intervention experience can sign up at https://go.gov.sg/nch-volunteer.

  • GETTING HELP

    National Care Hotline: 1800-202-6868

    MENTAL WELL-BEING

    Fei Yue's Online Counselling Service: eC2.sg

    Institute of Mental Health's Mental Health Helpline: 6389-2222

    Samaritans of Singapore: 1800-221-4444

    Silver Ribbon Singapore: 6385-3714

    Tinkle Friend: 1800-274-4788

    MARITAL AND PARENTING ISSUES

    Community Psychology Hub's Online Counselling platform: CPHOnlineCounselling.sg

    VIOLENCE OR ABUSE

    Big Love Child Protection Specialist Centre: 6445-0400

    HEART @ Fei Yue Child Protection Specialist Centre: 6819-9170

    PAVE Integrated Services for Individual and Family Protection: 6555-0390

    Project StART: 6476-1482

    TRANS SAFE Centre: 6449-9088

    COUNSELLING

    TOUCHline (Counselling): 1800-377-2252

    Care Corner Counselling Centre: 1800-353-5800

    ELDERLY

    Agency for Integrated Care Hotline: 1800-650-6060

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 23, 2020, with the headline Fewer calls, so shorter operating hours for National Care Hotline. Subscribe