Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) Anthea Ong is conducting a public consultation on mental health in Singapore, in preparation for Budget 2020.
Ms Ong, a noted social entrepreneur, is known for her concern for mental healthcare in Singapore. In her maiden parliamentary speech during Budget 2019, Ms Ong shared personal anecdotes and statistics as she made the case that mental health should be prioritised and not stigmatised.
Asking how 10 out of 1,000 students receiving counselling for stress and anxiety become one in seven adults experiencing a mental health condition in their lifetime, Ms Ong asserted then:
“There is no health without mental health. We must normalise mental health and bring it out to the open. The government and the community have to learn to value mental health as basic health and to then reduce stigma and improve help-seeking and recovery.”
Suggesting that a national coordinating body focused on the improvement of the country’s mental well-being could be established, she added:
“It’s time for the government to recognise, acknowledge and understand the complexity of mental health and to create opportunities and solutions to improve the lives of our people, especially our children and youth.
“It’s time to redefine our values as a nation and to cherish every individual’s subjective well-being, dreams, and aspirations beyond just their material and economic achievements. It can be done, it must be done because mental health is what makes us human. And this surely is what a strong, united Singapore must first-and-foremost always be.”
Ms Ong is now seeking public feedback on the quality, access and affordability of mental healthcare in Singapore as she prepares for Budget 2020.
Revealing that she is conducting a public consultation exercise since there is little public discourse on the matter, Ms Ong said that while the landscape has considerably changed since she asked for mental health to become a national priority during Budget 2019, her resolve to push for more to be done to address mental health is stronger than ever.
She added that the task at hand is to “improve mental healthcare accessibility (including cost) and mental healthcare quality” and “highlight challenges faced by and improvements required to meet the unique needs of specific communities like (1) seniors, (2) low income households, (3) differently-abled communities and (4) migrant workers.”
The NMP has organised an online form for members of the public to share their feedback and experiences with mental healthcare in Singapore. Those who are willing to contribute to the public consultation exercise may do so by filling out THIS FORM, which is open until 12 Jan 2020.
remembers it wasn't so long ago when she made an impassioned plea at Budget 2019 for Mental Health to be accorded…