I applaud the efforts of the SG Youth Action Plan panel which will work with schools to build up mental health first-response capabilities among youth and engage employers on providing better support for those with mental health conditions in the workplace (Plan to help youth tackle mental health issues, Jan 28).
As mentioned by Professor Alberto Trimboli, former president of the World Federation for Mental Health, young people today face constant stress and challenges in their lives as well as the world around them. They require time and attention, global awareness and compassion, as well as new programmes and guidelines on how the world can protect and empower the next generation.
Since 2006, Silver Ribbon (Singapore), or SRS, has worked with institutions including Singapore Management University, Singapore University of Social Sciences and the Singapore Association for Private Education to conduct workshops which equip their staff and students with basic mental health knowledge, including the importance of mental health, warning signs, management of mental health crises, mental health resources available in Singapore and self-care.
SRS also engages students in internship programmes, mental health projects and outreach events.
It would be helpful to:
•Include a light-hearted module in the school curriculum that would get students started on learning about the importance of mental health and stress management.
•Equip teachers with basic knowledge of mental health issues so that they can identify and refer students to their school counsellors.
•Provide a support system for parents to work closely with school counsellors on their children’s mental health issues.
I feel hopeful about mental health among the youth in Singapore, with the support of the SG Youth Action Plan panel in encouraging community stakeholders, ground-up groups, government agencies and employers to do their part.
Executive Director, Silver Ribbon (Singapore)
Board Member, World Federation for Mental Health