With mental health disorders becoming more and more prevalent, grasping the nuances of Singapore's approach to mental wellness is more crucial than ever. In this article, we aim to provide an overview of the mental health landscape in Singapore and highlight the efforts that we take to improve it.
The Current State of Mental Health in Singapore
In recent years, mental health has become an increasingly important topic in Singapore. According to a 2023 survey conducted by Ipsos, mental illness was recognised by citizens as the number one healthcare concern in the country. 55% of respondents stated that mental stress has impacted their daily functions, and 49% have reported feeling depressed for extended periods.
These figures are on the rise compared to previous years, with a noticeable increase from the Singapore Mental Health Study in 2016. Mood and anxiety disorders are particularly common, and many who have experienced complex trauma such as grief and abuse are also discouraged from seeking help due to long-standing societal stigmas.
However, there have also been definite improvements in recent years, with many organisations stepping forward to create initiatives and destigmatise the need to seek help. Public perception is gradually shifting, and a priority is being placed on mental welfare.
The Importance of Mental Health Awareness
Mental health awareness is crucial in a healthy society. By raising awareness about mental health, individuals can better understand the issues that may be plaguing themselves and others. This public perception can help in destigmatising the concept, making accessing mental health services easier.
In recent years, Singapore has taken strides to increase public understanding of mental health issues and reducing stigma associated with these conditions. Mental health professionals have been playing a vital role in this effort by sharing their understanding with the general public.
The Ministry of Health has established the National Mental Health and Well-being Strategy, in order to improve the mental health ecosystem within the country, making it more accessible and supportive for those in need. One of the key goals of this strategy is to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health, which can sometimes prevent individuals from seeking help.
Another organisation aiming to address these issues is Solace Art Psychotherapy, a provider of therapeutic solutions offering trauma-informed approaches to address mental health concerns and taking a proactive approach to tackling mental health issues. By using creative methods to facilitate self-expression, Solace Art Psychotherapy seeks to support individuals who are coping with mental health struggles and offers an innovative and empowering approach to healing and self-discovery.
The Role of Treatment in Mental Health
Proper treatment and intervention play a crucial role in addressing mental health issues and guiding recovery. Effective mental health intervention emphasises early identification, as spotting the symptoms early can prevent the progression of mental health conditions and improve quality of life. Mental health literacy and public awareness campaigns can empower individuals to seek timely support, making them essential support pillars in early treatment.
A key aspect of treatment is medication. Medication such as antidepressants, antipsychotics, and mood stabilizers, can be crucial in managing severe symptoms of various mental health disorders and are prescribed by licensed professionals. These medications can help balance brain chemistry and reduce symptoms in the initial stages, and sufficiently support patients while they seek therapy for longer-term support. There are also specialist centres for inpatient treatment of severe disorders such as psychosis and schizophrenia.
Therapy and Counselling
One of the most essential components of mental health treatment is therapy, where a patient is given a chance to form a rapport with an experienced therapist. This relationship allows them to receive psychological treatment tailored to their individual needs. Therapy can take various forms, including art therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), psychodynamic therapy, interpersonal therapy, and others, each addressing different aspects of mental health. A strong relationship fosters trust, openness, and empathy between the individual and their healthcare provider, allowing for a more profound engagement in the healing process. However, Dr Bessel van der Kolk, a renowned psychiatrist and the author of the book 'The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma', has clearly emphasised that talk therapy is not a suitable approach for people who have experienced trauma. Instead, non-verbal approaches such as Art Therapy may be more suitable.
In addition to therapy and medication, lifestyle changes and support systems play a significant role in mental health treatment. A healthy lifestyle, regular exercise, adequate sleep, healthy boundaries, and stress management can have a profound impact on mental well-being. Emotional support and understanding from family and friends can also provide a crucial support network for individuals.
Active mental health treatment serves as a foundation for recovery and well-being. Through comprehensive and timely interventions, individuals living with mental health issues in Singapore can take charge of their healing.
Solace Art Psychotherapy's Contribution
Solace Art Psychotherapy focuses on providing art psychotherapy for adults and youths, catering to a diverse range of mental health needs, and providing an inclusive and accessible route for support. Our innovative approach allows clients to process difficult thoughts and emotions through a combination of artistic expression and psychotherapeutic principles.
Art therapy excels in its ability to help clients heal from their complex trauma. Through the medium of art and the bottom-up approach, clients can safely explore and process their experiences in a non-intrusive and non-verbal manner. This prevents them from having to re-live their trauma and improves communication between them and their therapist. This method can help individuals develop coping skills, improve self-esteem, and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.
With art psychotherapy, clients do not require advanced artistic skills to participate and reap the benefits. Additionally, the creative process of art-making serves as a bridge of communication for those who may struggle to verbally express their thoughts and emotions.
By combining the therapeutic aspects of art with the principles of psychotherapy, Solace fosters self-awareness, emotional healing, and personal growth for its clients. We've held numerous events and have helped numerous clients at our centre, making use of our unique methodology to contribute towards the growth of a positive mental health landscape in Singapore.
Paving The Way For Mental Health Support in Singapore
Understanding and addressing mental health issues in Singapore is of paramount importance. In a rapidly changing landscape, finding appropriate and effective methods to tackle these challenges is crucial for fostering an emotionally healthy society.
Solace Art Psychotherapy stands ready to provide empowering mental healthcare through our use of Art Therapy to facilitate healing and improve mental well-being. If you or a loved one requires treatment, contact us to find out more about what we can offer.