Saturday, June 15, 2024
HomesingaporeMore hospitals, polyclinics, GPs to provide mental health services under new national...

More hospitals, polyclinics, GPs to provide mental health services under new national strategy

SINGAPORE: Individuals seeking mental health services will be able to receive help from more hospitals, polyclinics and general practitioners (GPs), as part of the national mental health and well-being strategy launched on Thursday (Oct 5).  

To ensure adequate hospital care, the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) will enhance its inpatient psychiatric bed and rehabilitation capacity, while the redeveloped Alexandra Hospital will also offer “expanded psychiatric services”, according to a joint press release by the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF). 

In addition, two new psychiatric nursing homes and a psychiatric rehabilitation home are slated to be developed by 2030 to increase long-term care facilities. 

Also by 2030, all new polyclinics are expected to provide mental health services. This is up from 17 of the existing 24 polyclinics that provide these services today. 

More general practitioners (GPs), in addition to over 400 currently, will also be trained to provide mental health services like assessment and medical treatment. 

These improvements to Singapore’s mental health ecosystem are part of the strategy’s focus to expand capacity of mental health services, the ministries said.

The strategy, which was launched by the inter-agency taskforce on mental health and well-being, also comprises three other focus areas: 

Enhancing capabilities of service providers for early identification and intervention Promoting mental health and well-being Improving workplace mental health and well-being  

“An effective healthcare strategy for mental health needs to be holistic. Rather than focusing attention on the treatment of mental disorders, at least equal emphasis should be placed on preventive care,” said MOH and MSF.

Related:

Prevalence of poor mental health increasing in Singapore; young adults have highest proportion at 25.3%

Study finds 1 in 10 teens suffers from mental health disorder; professionals call for more support from parents

ENHANCING CAPABILITIES OF SERVICE PROVIDERS 

On Thursday, Senior Minister of State for Health Dr Janil Puthucheary outlined details of a new tiered care model for mental health support, which he first introduced in October last year. 

“Not every mental health issue needs to be addressed by psychiatrists … So the tiered care model organises our mental health services according to the severity of needs, across the health, the social and the educational settings,” said Dr Puthucheary, who also chairs the inter-agency taskforce. 

“We want to make sure that we use our resources and services appropriately to provide care access to all the clients, avoid over-medicalising these mental health issues and ultimately reduce the stigma.”

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