Peer support network programmes

Published Date: 25 February 2021 04:38 PM

News Parliamentary Replies

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Dr Wan Rizal, Jalan Besar GRC

Question

To ask the Minister for Education (a) what are the peer support network programmes in schools and institutions of higher learning; and (b) what has been the efficacy of these programmes.

Response

  1. Strong and caring peer relationships are at the heart of effective support for students in schools and Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs). This peer support culture is established through a two-pronged approach.
  2. First, through Character and Citizenship Education in schools, we seek to establish a peer support culture in every school and every classroom. All students are taught to be kind and caring, to identify their social circle of support, and recognise signs of distress. Similarly, the IHLs promote mental well-being and basic mental health literacy among students through curricular and co-curricular activities and events. Students are encouraged to provide social and emotional support to one another, and facilitate help-seeking by alerting trusted school personnel when their friends encounter difficulties.
  3. Second, schools and IHLs have established a peer support structure where student Peer Support Leaders (PSLs) are selected to take on a more active role to look out for their peers. All IHLs have established peer support structures. All schools will have a peer support structure in place by 2022. The PSLs are trained to listen actively, respond with empathy, manage conflicts, and encourage early help-seeking and positive coping strategies. Schools and IHLs also work with Health Promotion Board and other community partners to raise awareness of mental health issues. PSLs are appointed at class or school level, and can include students who volunteer for the role. These PSLs are in turn supported by teachers, staff and counsellors who regularly check in with them.
  4. Schools and IHLs actively seek feedback from students and PSLs to review and strengthen peer support efforts. Schools also monitor the quality of peer relationships and extent of help-seeking behaviour. Schools and IHLs that have implemented peer support have observed more students actively showing care for peers going through difficulties. PSLs have also supported more classmates to seek help from teachers and counsellors, and alerted teachers when they come across peers in distress.
  5. MOE will continue to support schools and IHLs to strengthen peer support and partner the community to promote student well-being and resilience.
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