Parliamentary Replies

October 02, 2018

Mental Health Education and Support

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Ms Rahayu Mahzam, Jurong GRC

Question

To ask the Minister for Education (a) whether there has been a review of the effectiveness of mental health education in schools and, if so, what is the outcome of the review; and (b) whether there are any plans to expand mental health education and support for young adults in institutions of higher learning in addition to existing support structures in schools and non-profit organisations.

Response

1. MOE monitors the well-being of our students, and is committed to ensuring that students who require support receive the assistance they need.

2. There is a mental health programme in place. In schools, mental health education has been enhanced through social-emotional learning in the Character and Citizenship curriculum. This is to raise awareness of mental illnesses, encourage help-seeking behaviour, reduce stigmatisation, and also to help students to be able to identify friends who may be suffering from it.

3. Schools have also increased the number of mental health programmes, such as talks and exhibitions which foster greater awareness of mental health issues. Every school is now resourced with at least 1 counsellor whose responsibility include supporting students in distress.

4. Similarly, our Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) are doing more. Students are equipped with basic knowledge of mental wellness through curricular and co-curricular programmes. For example, students in Republic Polytechnic and the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) attend compulsory LifeSkills modules which focus on promoting social-emotional well-being and strategies on stress management.

5. Schools and IHLs also have put in place increased measures for early detection and intervention. This includes emergency hotlines and counsellors to provide support for students. Peer supporters are also trained in active listening skills, identification of distress signs, and to refer distressed peers to trusted adults.

6. In addition, Health Promotion Board provides mental health awareness briefings and resources for teachers and school counsellors annually. These enhance their understanding of mental health issues, its impact on students as well as provide strategies on how to support students better.