Your mental health encompasses your emotional, psychological, and social well-being. Just as physical health is vital for leading a fulfilling life, mental health plays a pivotal role in our overall quality of life. It affects how we think, feel, and act, impacting our relationships, work, and daily activities.
With how competitive and fast-paced Singapore can be, mental health has often taken a backseat. But ignoring mental health can have severe consequences. Neglecting mental health can lead to a range of issues, from anxiety to depression, and in extreme cases, even to suicide.
The prevalence of mental health issues and suicide in Singapore
According to Statista, Singaporean society still has a stigma surrounding mental health issues (including depression, anxiety, and burnout) as many perceive it as a sign of weakness. However, the lifetime prevalence of mental disorders in the country is currently at 13.9%, and suicide remains the leading cause of death in youths aged 10 to 29 and the elderly aged 70 to 79.
Furthermore, in 2022, there was a rise of 25.9% in suicide cases compared to the number of cases in 2021. It’s cited that the most common problems that affect individuals’ mental health are family problems, employment, financial difficulties, and romantic relationships.
The effects of not seeking mental health support
Despite having a higher ratio of mental health professionals to the population, there are still people in Singapore who are reluctant to seek treatment. Based on a Duke-NUS study on survey data from 5,725 Singaporean adults, only 32% sought healthcare to treat their conditions, and 24% consulted a mental healthcare provider. Failing to seek support can lead to many issues, including:
Decline in quality of life
Untreated mental health issues can severely diminish one’s quality of life. Individuals may experience persistent sadness, anxiety, or other debilitating symptoms.
Physical health complications
Mental health problems can lead to physical health issues such as insomnia, high blood pressure, and weakened immune function. The mind-body connection is undeniable.
Unmanaged mental health issues often strain relationships with family, friends, and colleagues. Irritability, withdrawal, and mood swings can create distance and misunderstandings.
Reduced work productivity
We all work hard here in Singapore, however mental health challenges can affect work performance. This can result in job loss, financial difficulties, and a cycle of stress.
Increased risk of suicide
If left untreated, severe mental health issues can push individuals towards suicidal thoughts and actions. Treatment for suicide prevention is essential before it can get to this stage.
Signs that mental health support is needed
Recognising the signs of mental health issues is the first step in seeking help. Here are some common indicators that suggest the need for mental health support:
- Feeling persistently sad, hopeless, or down for an extended period.
- Noticeable changes in behaviour, such as social withdrawal, irritability, or disinterest in previously enjoyed activities.
- Significant changes in sleep patterns, such as insomnia or oversleeping.
- Drastic changes in appetite, leading to weight loss or gain.
- An inability to focus or concentrate on tasks, which can affect work or academic performance.
- Unexplained physical symptoms such as headaches, digestive issues, or chronic pain that have no clear medical cause.
- Increased use of alcohol or drugs as a coping mechanism.
It’s also crucial to know the signs of suicide to help prevent suicidal thoughts from becoming a reality. Here are some warning signs of suicide:
- Talking about death and feeling hopeless
- Talking about unbearable pain and feeling trapped
- Displaying extreme mood swings
- Talking about being a burden to others
- Behaving recklessly
Finding the right mental health support
For any individual experiencing the struggles of mental illness, acceptance and seeking mental health support can be a big leap in itself. Fortunately, Osler Health in Singapore offers various resources to help you find the right support to guide you through your journey to mental wellness. Here are some of your options:
Get mental health support from our professionals at Osler Health
Navigating mental health challenges can be a daunting task, but you don’t have to go it alone. You can get the support and treatment you need from mental health doctors at Osler Health. Our doctors have cared for many people over the years with their mental health and have a network of trusted allied health professionals that they can co-care with. We offer a holistic approach to your mental well-being through our lifestyle medicine approach.
Lifestyle medicine is an established, evidence-based discipline that supports healthy lifestyle changes, including healthy eating, stress management, avoiding harmful substances and more. The goal of lifestyle medicine is to prevent, treat, and even reverse mental health issues. At our international medical clinic, you have a safe space to express your thoughts and work through the challenges that come with your condition.
If you don’t wish to come into the clinic (or find leaving your home challenging) we offer a telemedicine service. Our telecon medicine platform connects you with our mental health professionals, via video calls. Our doctors are all experienced in mental health support and can access the care you need.
Hotlines and helplines
Numerous helplines and crisis hotlines are available for immediate support, including the Samaritans of Singapore (SOS) helpline. Such services are particularly useful for immediate crises or for those who are not yet ready to seek long-term support. These helplines often provide anonymous, non-judgmental support at any time of the day.