Youth Mental Health: Singapore Therapists Make an Impact With Art

Youth Mental health in Singapore on the decline

Youth mental health in Singapore has been a growing concern in recent years. According to the Singapore Medical Journal, 76.8% of youth have experienced a mental health disorder, with mood disorders being the most common. Only 10% of parents are able to recognise when these symptoms appear.

These increasing numbers highlight the importance of raising awareness and promoting mental well-being among youth. It's crucial for support systems and mental health services to be put in place, so youth can pursue help without fear of judgment.

Common Issues Faced by Youth in Singapore

Common issues faced by youth

Increasing stressors and challenges in today's fast-paced society are the leading causes of declining mental health.

  • Inability to get help: Another challenge encountered by youth is the delay in seeking assistance and treatment for their mental health. Despite the growing awareness in the area of mental health, many young people still hesitate to reach out for support when they need it. They often find that it's not easy to get help, even when they're looking for it.
  • Depression and Anxiety: 11.7% of youth experience symptoms of depression in their lives, such as self-harm and suicidal ideation, and 12.8% exhibit symptoms of anxiety. They often end up having a decline in both academic performance and daily life.

Contributing Factors

There are many contributors to declining mental health among youth, with academic stress, bullying, and family conflicts being identified as significant ones.

  • The Stigma Around Mental Illnesses: Youth fear being labeled, and this stigma discourages young people from addressing their mental health concerns and seeking professional assistance. Mental health literacy tends to be low among older generations, and youth find that they struggle to seek help from their parents, for fear of not being understood.
  • Academic Pressure: Another contributing factor to the poor state of mental health among Singapore's youth is the high expectations and pressure placed on them by society, family, and academic institutions. Excessive academic pressure and competition often lead to prolonged stress, resulting in long-term mental health challenges.
  • Childhood Trauma: Furthermore, early childhood experiences can greatly impact an individual's mental health, creating a root cause that develops into trauma and mental disorders later in life. By addressing mental health concerns in their early stages, it is possible to mitigate their impact on overall well-being.

How Therapy Addresses These Issues

Importance of therapy for a positive self image

Providing Emotional Outlets

The first step towards addressing youth mental health issues is acknowledging that they are not alone in their struggle. Therapy helps prevent youth from feeling trapped, with no way of getting help.

A study by the National University of Singapore (NUS) found that youth who were able to confide in their peers, even outside of a professional environment, experienced a 40% drop in depressive and anxiety symptoms. The ability to express their emotions in a non-judgmental environment had a massive impact, showcasing just how vital having an outlet is.

Therapy and Counselling

Professional therapy and counselling services can play a pivotal role in helping young people cope with mental health challenges, such as depression and anxiety. These services offer guidance and support in developing effective coping strategies and building resilience against future setbacks. Early intervention is key, as timely access to appropriate help can significantly improve the long-term outcomes for individuals experiencing mental health issues.

In Singapore, there is an ongoing effort to provide better accessibility to mental health services for young people. This includes helplines, youth-centric counselling services, partnerships with the Institute of Mental Health (IMH), and clinics offering specialised support for young individuals. It is crucial for youth to be aware of these resources and take the initiative to seek help when needed.

Solace's Approach to Therapy

Solace offers art psychotherapy sessions for mental health and trauma therapy. This unique approach harnesses the power of creative expression to help clients share their issues non-verbally. By making use of art as a medium, our therapists can empower both youth and adults to develop mental health management skills.

Throughout the years, we've helped numerous clients and attended various events. Our clients are gently guided into a safe environment, where they can process their trauma and emotions at a pace that suits them. Our focus isn't on the art itself, but on the process of healing and expression that it provides.

Introduction to Art Psychotherapy

Art Psychotherapy for Mental Health Conditions in Singapore

Art Psychotherapy is a type of treatment that makes use of visual art to facilitate sustainable healing and personal growth. It is an effective way to overcome childhood trauma and mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and other challenges.

This approach helps individuals to explore and understand their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in a safe and non-intrusive manner. In a safe and secure setting, our experts facilitate and hold space for the clients during the art making process, gain insights into their mental health state, and assess how they're coping with stress.

The client and their art therapist then discuss the artwork and unpack its meaning. We explore the objects, people, symbols, and images that do and do not appear in the artwork. This understanding of their subconscious emotions can help externalize the difficulties that the person is facing.

Through the process of creating and sharing about their artwork, people can gain insight into their mental health, cope with stress, and develop emotional resilience.

Advantages of Art Therapy

Advantages of art therapy in trauma treatment

One significant advantage of art therapy is that it's non-verbal. When it comes to trauma, speaking about it and attempting to verbalise it can be counterproductive. Using a tangible approach such as art therapy encourages patients to gradually and safely become comfortable in disclosing their emotions and thoughts when they are ready to do so. This method greatly assists young adults who may be hesitant or fearful of confronting their issues directly through traditional talk therapy.

Another advantage of art therapy lies in its ability to engage multiple senses. By using materials that involve touch, sight, and sometimes even sound, participants can establish a stronger connection between their body and mind, leading to enhanced emotional regulation and coping strategies. This form of therapy has proven to be effective in fostering a sense of accomplishment and self-esteem in participants.

Overall, art therapy offers a well-rounded, versatile, and engaging method of supporting youth mental health in Singapore. No artistic experience is needed, and the aesthetic quality of the art piece is secondary to the insights that the client and therapist can each take away from it.

Solace Art Psychotherapy: Safeguarding Youth Mental Health

Solace Art Psychotherapy

At Solace, we offer a unique approach in tackling the mental health challenges that youth and other age groups face. With the understanding that traditional therapy may not be suitable for everyone, Solace's Art Psychotherapy presents an alternate, non-verbal method in recognising and healing emotional distress. The distinct blend of art and psychotherapy enables individuals to express and explore their feelings in ways that transcend the limitations of verbal communication.

Taking the first step towards seeking help is essential for the betterment of mental health symptoms. Our team of experts are dedicated to providing a comfortable, non-judgmental space for youth to delve into their thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Building this self-confidence is the key to acceptance.

Contact us today to find out more.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is art psychotherapy?

Art psychotherapy is an evidence-based mental health service that uses visual arts media as a tool in sessions to help enhance and strengthen one's mental health and well-being. It is a form of psychotherapy and an established alternative to traditional talk therapy.

Is art therapy like counselling?

Art therapy and counselling are both mental health services but use different techniques and tools to support clients.

How is art therapy different from other forms of therapy?

In art therapy, it is possible to facilitate non-verbal communication. The use of art as a tool in the therapy session allows clients to externalise their emotions in a safe manner. It is less intimidating for one to process difficult emotions without having to voice them out verbally.

Do I need to be good at art to come for art therapy?

No. Artistic skills are not required for art therapy as it is not an art activity or workshop.

How long does Art Therapy typically last?

On average, a client spends about 15-20 sessions with their therapist. We recommend a minimum of 10 to begin with, and additional sessions may be added on an individual basis. It ultimately depends on each client’s goals for themselves.

Is Art Therapy covered by insurance in Singapore?

Please check with your insurance agent to find out whether they offer coverage for mental health services in Singapore. For more information, check out our Instagram guide to Mental Health Insurance, updated as of February 2023!

Is Trauma Therapy the same as PTSD Counselling?

Trauma does not always lead to Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Both are caused by traumatic events, but PTSD is a specific diagnosis of a disorder. PTSD’s symptoms are often characterised by trauma-induced responses that become chronic and last for an extended period. Counselling methods will differ between the two, and a trauma therapist will most likely be necessary for severe symptoms.

Are you able to conduct sessions online?

Yes, we are able to conduct online therapy for both Singapore citizens and international clients. Please Contact us or WhatsApp us to make enquiries.