Number of young Singaporeans seeking help for mental health issues jumps by 190%

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The Institute of Mental Health (IMH) recently reported that the number of young Singaporeans who sought help for mental health issues multiplied nearly threefold over the past three years.

IMH reported that the number of Singaporeans between the ages of 16 and 30 who sought help from its Community Health Assessment Team (CHAT) over the past three years has climbed by a hefty 190 per cent – growing from 550 in 2015 to 1,580 last year.

A youth support worker who helps individuals at the IMH’s outreach arm reported that the actual number of young Singaporeans facing mental health issues may be much higher since many youths do not come forward to seek help. 27-year-old Ms Hamidah told reporters that youths may leave the issues they battle unreported due to prevailing social stigma about mental health.

Young adults who face mental health issues are encouraged to reach out to the CHAT team, even if it just to have a conversation and clear their doubts.

The latest CHAT statistics come on the back of recent statistics revealed by a suicide prevention hotline that the rate of suicide calls among young Singaporeans has also climbed. Suicide prevention centre SOS reported that it received about 1900 calls from those between the ages of 5 and 19 in 2016 – a 70 percent increase compared to the number of calls in 2012.

Meanwhile, the number of needy young Singaporeans who rely on government handouts has also been increasing.

The Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) revealed that the number of young households that include youths that received medium-term financial aid in FY2015 jumped by a troubling 40 per cent, from 4.016 in 2012 to 5,644 just three years later.

Further, it was reported last year that young Singaporeans constitute one in five recipients of financial aid in spite of the Governments attempts to give a leg up to needy youths through student care programmes and skills-upgrading subsidies.