Counselling Support for Students in Schools

Published Date: 11 February 2019 12:00 AM

News Parliamentary Replies

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Ms Anthea Ong, Nominated Member of Parliament

Question

To ask the Minister for Education (a) in 2018, what is the total number of students in schools and institutes of higher learning who sought help with counsellors due to stress and anxiety; and (b) what is the current student-counsellor ratio in each school.

Response

1. Counselling issues vary in causes and complexity, and schools and Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) have varying ways of tracking them. We estimate that in 2018, around 10 out of every 1,000 students at schools and IHLs received counselling support for anxiety or stress-related issues. These issues include relationship, personal struggles, family disputes, or academic difficulties. We do not have macro level specific breakdown for anxiety or stress-related counselling issues.

2. Today, all schools are resourced with at least 1 to 2 school counsellors, while all IHLs are resourced with at least 2 to 3 counsellors. They are in turn augmented by part-time MOE-trained school counsellors, para-counsellors, Flexi-Adjunct School Counsellors, or Teacher Counsellors.

3. MOE is looking into upstream work such as training of teachers in mental health literacy and preventive programmes for vulnerable/at-risk students. All teachers are already equipped with basic counselling skills and serve as front-liners in supporting students with social-emotional needs. Mental health is an issue to be taken seriously, and requires the concerted efforts of educators, counsellors, parents and peers.

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