Providing Mental Health First Aid Support in the Community

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Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam at Temasek Foundation Cares Mental Wellness Community Fair cum Launch of Project eMHFA(S) on May 20, 2017

1 in 10 Singaporeans face some form of mental health disorder and the majority of people with the illness typically don’t seek help or don’t seek treatment early. This could be due to the social stigma associated with the illness or perhaps also because of the lack of understanding and awareness about mental health in general.

With this in mind, on 20 May 2017, Temasek Foundation Cares in partnership with Changi General Hospital launched the Temasek Foundation Cares – Project eMHFA(S) (Mental Health First Aid Singapore) aimed at building a more resilient community by training community leaders and members of key community groups in mental health literacy through a more accessible e-learning platform. Equipped with mental health first aid knowledge, these ‘front-liners’ who have direct touchpoints with residents and members will be able to help identify and support people who have, or are at risk of, mental health challenges.

Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, who attended the launch of the programme held at a mental wellness fair in Bukit Merah, stressed the importance of early detection and said, “The earlier we spot the problem, the easier it is for the person to avoid the situation from getting worse and the easier it is for them to enjoy their life as they grow older.”

Temasek Foundation Cares has committed S$578,000 to the project over a three-year period and the pilot programme offers an accessible way to equip 900 community leaders with knowledge of mental health first aid.

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About Project eMHFA(S)

Project eMHFA(S) consists of a two-day on-site Mental Health First Aid learning course. The new online platform blends e-learning with face-to-face practicum, thus reducing the on-site learning component to just 0.5 days. Participants are required to complete an online self-learning module before attending the 0.5-day contact learning session conducted by MHFA(S) certified instructors, where participants will learn how to apply the e-knowledge to provide initial help and guide the person suffering from a mental disorder to professional help where necessary through customised case studies and role-plays. Through the course, the participants will learn about the signs and symptoms of common mental disorders such as depression, anxiety disorders or obsessive-compulsive behaviours and the ways to approach and offer assistance. On completing all the requirements, the participant will be certified a Mental Health First Aider.

About Temasek Foundation Cares

Temasek Foundation Cares is one of the six non-profit philanthropic organisations set up by Temasek and sponsored through Temasek Trust.
Temasek Foundation Cares funds and supports meaningful and innovative community-based programmes for the benefit of Singaporeans. It aims to contribute to the well-being, dignity and livelihood of needy individuals, families and communities by building people, building communities, building capabilities and rebuilding lives.

Did you know…

A 2014 study by the Institute of Mental Health of Singapore conducted among adult residents aged 18 to 65 years found that depression, alcohol abuse and obsessive compulsive disorder are the top three most common mental disorders in Singapore.