The 3 Most Common Types of Mental Illness in Singapore

Mental Illness in Singapore

Mental health is often overlooked in Singapore. Despite being an integral part of our well-being, there is a distinct lack of understanding and attention towards it. Many people don't realise just how prevalent mental illnesses are in our country.

For instance, did you know these facts?

Despite the monumental impact it can have on people's lives, mental health is still not prioritised by many. If you feel like you or a loved one exhibits symptoms that may point to a mental illness, here are some signs that you might want to watch out for.

Understanding Mental Illness in Singapore

Major depressive disorder and other common mental health conditions

1. Depression

The predominant mental illness in Singapore is Depression (also known as Major depressive disorder).

According to the Singapore Mental Health Study, it affects 6.3% of the population. Depression is a mental health disorder that is characterised by persistent feelings of sadness, a loss of interest in activities, and a general sense of fatigue. It is a complex condition that can take various forms.

Diagnosis and treatment of each type of depression come with unique challenges. For example, the chronic nature of persistent depressive disorder can make it difficult to diagnose, as individuals may come to perceive their symptoms as a normal part of their personality or life.

Symptoms of Depression

Although not all symptoms may be present simultaneously, these signs may point to Depressive Disorders:

  • Sudden loss or increase in appetite

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Feelings of helplessness and loss of hope
  • Loss of interest in former hobbies

  • Suicidal ideation and intentions

2. Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition characterised by extreme mood swings. A person's mood shifts between emotional highs (mania) and sudden lows (depressive episodes). These fluctuations can affect a person's energy level, behaviour, and ability to carry out day-to-day tasks.

Types of bipolar disorders include Bipolar I, Bipolar II, and Cyclothymic Disorder.

Symptoms of Bipolar disorder

If you experience these two sets of symptoms alternatively, you may be showing signs of Bipolar disorder:

  • Sudden irritation and agitation
  • High-energy periods and restlessness
  • Decrease in need to sleep
  • Poor judgement and reckless behaviour
  • Sudden decrease in energy and mood
  • Trouble focusing or sleeping
  • No longer enjoying certain things
  • Feeling persistently drained and hopeless

3. Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders are a group of mental health conditions that cause persistent fear, anxiety, or worry about everyday situations. They can take various forms, including generalised anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and social anxiety disorder.

Generalised anxiety disorder is characterised by chronic anxiety and exaggerated worry even without triggers. Panic disorder involves recurrent periods of intense fear that may cause spikes in heart rate. Social anxiety disorder, on the other hand, is characterised by overwhelming worry and self-consciousness about everyday social situations.

Symptoms of Anxiety disorder

If you experience the following at regular intervals over extended periods, you may be showing symptoms of Anxiety disorders, or experiencing panic attacks:

  • Chest pain and discomfort
  • Sudden fear and unease
  • Shortness of breath and sweating
  • Difficulty concentrating

The Root Causes

The causes of mental illness may vary greatly. Societal pressures and feelings of isolation can contribute to the development of mental health issues, as well as major life changes and extreme stress.

Trauma is another significant root cause of mental illness, with 2 out of 3 adults reporting traumatic childhood experiences. These experiences can lead to long-lasting psychological distress, which manifests as various mental health disorders later in life.

Understanding these root causes is crucial in developing effective prevention and treatment strategies.

Receiving Help and Support

Mental Health literacy is vital to identifying signs of mental disorder

The road to recovery starts with recognising the signs of poor mental health. There's a variety of services that provide mental health support to Singaporeans in need. Professionals can provide counselling and psychiatric treatment, and citizens have formed numerous support groups within the mental health community.

At Solace, we provide Art Psychotherapy. This is a technique that focuses on helping a patient express, process and release their emotions in a safe space. Through creative expression under a trained art therapist, patients can explore their thoughts non-verbally and allowing them to express their unconscious emotions. Sometimes, trauma can be hidden away, and patients aren't fully aware of how it's shaping their life. Art Psychotherapy allows doctors to obtain these insights that can't be verbalised by the patient otherwise.

Working through the root causes of symptoms through this method can greatly help a patient's recovery. At Solace, we aim to assist our adult clients with various challenges, including...

  • Constant feelings of stress, depression, or anxiety
  • Inferiority complexes and Impostor syndrome

  • Being trapped in toxic relationships
  • Feeling aimless in life
  • Being unable to prioritise oneself over others
  • Being overwhelmed with work and responsibilities
  • Constant feelings of burnout and insomnia
Mental health conditions in Singapore

Mental health conditions can affect anyone, and it's important to be aware of their signs and symptoms. Across Singapore, there continue to be people suffering in silence, and continuing to push themselves to the limit instead of seeking assistance. A recent study has found that the impact of this could cost Singapore nearly $16 billion a year. The unwillingness to take a pause and address one's own mental health is a common trend among Singaporeans and this trend should change for the better.

If you feel like you or a friend are in need of help, contact us for an appointment today. Here at Solace, our team of trained Art Therapists can steadily guide you on your journey of self-discovery. Having the courage to take that first step towards the road to recovery can be daunting, but you'll find that it's for the best in the end.