Psychiatric shelter opens at Race Course Road

SINGAPORE - A psychiatric shelter to support people recovering from mental health issues opened near Serangoon Road on Friday (Oct 13).

Called the Anglican Care Centre (Farrer Park), it was opened by the Singapore Anglican Community Services (SACS), a Christian welfare organisation.

The care centre can house 60 adults and 20 youths (aged 16-21) who require temporary accommodation after treatment and are ready to return to live independently in the community.

Besides receiving help from rehabilitation counsellors, they can attend programmes for counselling, psycho-education and personal effectiveness skills, family engagement and support, vocational and skills support, as well as participate in social and recreational activities.

According to the 2010 Singapore Mental Health Study conducted by the Institute of Mental Health, one in 10 adults here will suffer from mental illness in their lifetime.

"This new service is aligned with our mission to provide quality rehabilitation services to persons with mental health issues in their journey towards recovery, community integration and an improved quality of live," said Dr Arthur Chern, group chief executive officer of SACS and St. Andrew's Mission Hospital.

"Besides the initial acute phase medical treatment, persons with mental health issues need continuous support and rehabilitation to sustain their recovery and reintegrate into society. With good community based support, many of them can lead a normal life including engaging in regular employment."

SACS, which was appointed by the Ministry of Health last year (2016) to operate the only psychiatric shelter here, is one of the largest psychiatric community rehabilitation service providers in Singapore.

The organisation started providing care for people recovering from mental health issues 30 years ago, and has helped 2,235 such people last year (2016), up from 1,349 people in 2012.

Health Minister Gan Kim Yong, who attended the official opening of the care centre, emphasised the importance of mental wellbeing as part of overall health and wellness.

"Early identification and timely interventions are important to help people with mental health conditions maintain their quality of life for as long as possible. It is also equally important to create a supportive community where persons with mental health conditions are empowered to live safely and confidently," he said.