National Care Hotline hours to be shortened to 8am to 8pm daily from 2022

More than 50,000 calls have been dialled to the hotline as at August this year. PHOTO: DESMOND LEE/FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - The National Care Hotline, which provides psychological first aid and emotional support to those who dial in, will shorten its operating hours from Jan 1, 2022.

The hotline, which currently operates from 8am to midnight, will operate from 8am to 8pm daily.

This comes as call volumes have stabilised and the adjustment will also help to ensure the hotline "remains sustainable as we transition to living with Covid-19 in Singapore", said the Ministry of Social and Family Development on Tuesday (Dec 28).

From Jan 1 next year, members of the public who call the National Care Hotline after 8pm will be directed to alternative helplines where they can seek relevant assistance.

More than 50,000 calls have been dialled to the hotline as at August this year.

Apart from offering emotional support to anyone who needs it, trained officers will link callers with social service agencies and specialised services if needed.

The line was set up on April 10, 2020, during the circuit-breaker period as a 24-hour hotline.

More than 300 psychologists, counsellors, social workers, psychiatrists and public officers from about 50 agencies stepped up to man the helpline round the clock. More volunteers came on board later.

Callers dialled in about a range of issues such as queries about government Covid-19 support measures, financial issues and emotional support.

Some also faced family conflicts, divorce and parenting issues, while others experienced aggression by family members.

In September last year, the operating hours were shortened to 8am to midnight as the number of calls in the wee hours declined and the volunteer pool was reduced.

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