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Over 50% S'poreans surveyed say mental health issues not discussed enough – Singapore News

People hesitate to seek professional help, deterred by cost of treatment and reluctance to share personal difficulties with strangers

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SINGAPORE: While Singapore has made strides in raising awareness about mental health in recent years, a substantial portion of its population believes that the issue still lacks adequate discussion and that the discussions that do occur often fail to yield positive changes.

This revelation comes from a survey conducted by research agency RySense in collaboration with the HappyDot.sg website, where 1,583 Singaporeans shared their perspectives on mental health.

According to the survey results, 24 per cent of respondents believed there is a significant lack of discussion surrounding mental health issues in Singapore. An even more substantial 31 per cent believed that despite ongoing discussions, these dialogues have not resulted in any tangible positive changes. Additionally, 29 per cent of participants felt that while discussions have taken place, they have not produced enough beneficial outcomes.

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Only a mere 7 per cent of respondents believed that the situation surrounding mental health had significantly improved.

On a more positive note, approximately 80 per cent of those surveyed felt that there is a greater understanding of individuals grappling with mental health issues. Just 1 per cent of respondents thought there was less understanding of such individuals.

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The survey delved into why individuals hesitate to seek professional help for psychological problems. The primary obstacles identified were the perceived high cost of treatment, reluctance to share personal difficulties with strangers, and the belief that they could resolve their issues independently.

Over 20 per cent of respondents cited negative perceptions of mental health, including concerns about the misuse of medical records or being incorrectly labelled as having mental health problems, as barriers to seeking professional help.

In terms of areas requiring more attention, respondents prioritized mental health in the workplace as the top concern. They advocated for greater openness to flexible work arrangements, addressing workplace stress and burnout, and training supervisors to support their subordinates. Changing society’s perception of mental health, mental health initiatives in schools, and government policies and outreach were also areas that respondents believed deserved more focus.

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The survey also offered insights into how Singaporeans cope with stress. The most common stress relief methods cited included resting at home, enjoying food, watching shows or movies, and engaging in physical exercise.

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While there is a greater understanding of mental health issues, the survey underscores the importance of addressing the barriers that prevent individuals from seeking professional help and the need for comprehensive strategies to promote mental well-being in various aspects of society.

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