Oct 07, 2013

    Find mental-health help at polyclinics and hospitals

    If someone you know seems down most of the time and has bouts of hopelessness and negative thinking, take heed - these are signs of depression.

    Dr Tan Weng Mooi, chief of the Community Mental Health Division at the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC), said that depression is one of the most common mental-health issues here.

    Ahead of World Mental Health Day on Thursday, My Paper spoke with Dr Tan on where people can turn to for help with mental-health issues.

    What are some common mental-health issues here?

    They are depression, dementia and psychosis, which is a condition in which one suffers from hallucinations and delusions.

    When should people seek help?

    Individuals should seek help if they experience several symptoms of a mental condition.

    For example, the symptoms for depression can include losing interest in pleasurable activities and daily routine, as well as thoughts of suicide.

    If that happens, individuals should seek help in consulting a trained health-care professional, such as a counsellor or a doctor, to provide an assessment.

    To find out more on the symptoms of other mental-health conditions, visit the Care in Mind portal at

    Family members with mental-health issues may be reluctant to seek help at a mental health-care institution due to the public stigma. What help can be offered to them?

    Understanding the potential public stigma in seeking institutional care, we have increased the accessibility of mental-health support in the community so that individuals with or at risk of mental conditions will be more willing to step forward to seek help.

    Those with mild conditions or who are at risk can approach the Community Intervention Teams at voluntary welfare organisations like O'Joy Care Services.

    Clients who require medical treatment can approach the Assessment Shared Care Teams, which are multi-disciplinary, physician-led shared-care teams that are based in polyclinics or medical centres in hospitals.


    To register for talks and workshops on mental-health matters at the AIC and the Health Promotion Board's Enrich Your Mind Learning Festival on Oct 27, e-mail enrichyourmind.