SINGAPORE - Two in five people have personally experienced mental health struggles, and this statistic increases to one in two in young people aged 15 to 35.
These figures from a mental health survey conducted last month were unveiled on Saturday (April 30) at the launch of #BetterTogether, an initiative by the People's Action Party (PAP) to raise awareness and drive collective action for mental health in Singapore.
The survey of 607 Singaporeans conducted by PAP's youth wing, Young PAP, also showed that more than 70 per cent of the participants felt there is a lack of awareness of the issues associated with mental health. And more than 70 per cent of them do not feel equipped to help or support someone else who is struggling with mental health problems.
The results were brought up in a round-table discussion at the #BetterTogether launch at the Apiary in Neil Road.
The initiative is led by Education Minister Chan Chun Sing, Minister of State for Education and Social and Family Development Sun Xueling, and MP for Jalan Besar GRC Wan Rizal Wan Zakariah. It builds on the party's past and existing efforts in the community and Parliament to champion mental health literacy, support and destigmatisation.
Stressing the importance of building one's capacity in safeguarding one's mental health as well as those around them, Mr Chan said: "Many of our young students will not approach counsellors and professionals first, that is not natural. Rather, for a typical young person, when you or your friend encounters a problem, you are likely to talk to your friends."
This is because there is a trust young people have towards their peers, there are similar lived experiences and there is no judgment, Mr Chan said.
"#BetterTogether reiterates PAP's commitment towards mental health and building a resilient Singapore that can continue thriving amid adversity. We want to rally all to take action and advocate a paradigm shift with us so that no one is alone in his or her journey of recovery," he said.
From surveying perspectives to collecting feedback, to plenary sessions and dialogues on mental health and well-being, the initiative aims to consolidate people's concerns and proposals for legislative and policy changes, the ministers said.
Highlighting the need for an effort from the whole society, Ms Sun said: "Mental health is a deeply personal issue, but it is also one that extends beyond the individual because a person's life is so intricately interwoven into those around him or her. How do we ensure that there is a helping hand before one steps into the abyss of despair? It is paramount that we create a circle of care and support around individuals."
The public can find out more about #BetterTogether at this website.