SINGAPORE: With more than half of Singaporeans, or 55 percent, experiencing stress to the point that it affected their daily life over the past year, it should not be a big surprise that Singaporeans now consider mental health to be the number one health concern.
The recent Ipsos World Mental Health Day survey showed that after mental health (46 percent), the second most pressing health issue is cancer (38 percent) followed by stress (35 percent). In 2021, Covid-19 took the top spot, and stress had only been fourth on the list.
The survey carried out among 1000 Singaporeans between the ages of 21 and 74, looks into the changes in people’s perspectives toward their mental health and the issues affecting their mental wellbeing amid the backdrop of the broader healthcare environment.
A majority of Singaporeans (78 percent) believe that mental health is as important as physical health, even though only 54 percent say that mental and physical health are treated equally by Singapore’s healthcare system. It is interesting to note that in 2021, only 43 percent had this response.
However, two-thirds of Singaporeans are more likely to say they often think about their physical health, while only 52 percent say the same about their mental health. More women (56 percent) think about their mental health than men (48 percent), and it is the younger cohort, adults under the age of 35 (64 percent) who do so. Interestingly, more than two in five (44 percent) said they never, or don’t think very much, about their mental health.
“Quite a considerable population of Singaporean admit to seldom or never focusing on their mental wellbeing, a tendency that may be attributed to the high-stress, relentless rhythm or life in Singapore. Nonetheless, it is indisputable that employers, governmental bodies, and communities must heighten their commitment towards enhancing preventative mental health care,” the report quotes Ms Melanie Ng, the Director of Public Affairs, Ipsos in Singapore, as saying.
As for stress, the survey showed that aside from 55 percent who said they experienced stress to the point that it affected their daily life at least once over the past year, almost one-fourth (24 percent) said they experienced this several times.
Even more alarmingly, 23 percent said that over the past year, they had so much stress that they felt the inability to cope or deal with their situation. Additionally, 39 percent said they needed to take a leave from their jobs because of work stress, and 15 percent said they needed to do so several times.
Perhaps the most alarming statistic concerns depression, almost half (49 percent) indicated that they felt depressed—defined as feeling sad or hopeless nearly every day for weeks at a stretch, and one in five said they experienced this several times in the last year.
Over a quarter (27 percent) indicated having seriously considered suicide or self-hurt at least once in the past year, with 26 percent of respondents under 35 years old having this response. One in ten said they experienced this multiple times in the last 12 months. /TISG
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