2022 Appropriations Committee Debate, Day 6: Janil Puthucheary on Integrated Mental Health Services

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Mental health care services will be made more accessible and delivered in many settings, as well as integrated with community and general medical services. The Ministry of Health (MOH) is stepping up its efforts to support the mental wellbeing of Singaporeans, in light of the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic. It will deliver holistically integrated mental health services through a whole-of-government approach, Minister of State for Health Janil Puthucheary said as he outlined key initiatives in Parliament on Wednesday March 9. KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital and National University Hospital will increase their prenatal and postnatal mental health screening for more mothers. The government will increase community contact points for access to mental health services. It will better leverage health and social care settings for service delivery and equip frontline workers with the skills to identify people with mental health needs. The government will also consider a proposal to create an office of mental well-being. More efforts will be made to connect like-minded people to engage citizens on mental wellbeing. The Health Promotion Council will expand the range of resources to include cyber-wellness, depression and anxiety disorders. Planning has begun to sustain hospital capacity for psychiatric services beyond the Institute of Mental Health (IMH). The National University Health System will set up psychiatric services at the refurbished Alexandra Hospital. In addition, the IMH’s National Addiction Management Service will be extended to other hospitals. To better support people going through a mental health crisis such as self-harm, IMH piloted a crisis response team to respond to calls from the Singapore police regarding cases of attempted suicides. The Department of Health will develop a new intermediate residential facility to support young people who are hospitalized for risk of suicide or serious self-harm and who may require residential care after discharge. Regarding polyclinics, Dr Janil said residents of Taman Jurong can expect a new polyclinic by 2028. The existing polyclinic in Queenstown will be redeveloped by the end of the decade.

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