As we are reaching the end of 2020, most would not have expected the coronavirus risk and its restrictions to have lasted for so long. Some are feeling constricted from a lack of personal space from other family members that they do not get along with, some are finding it difficult to adjust to working remotely. Some have not seen overseas relatives since Chinese New Year, whilst some are in long distance relationships and have not been able to get married as initially anticipated. The Covid-19 situation has certainly caused disruption to one’s normal routine. These range of challenges have mental health experts predicting an effect on one’s mental health. This issue is not limited to Singapore alone. Around the world, there has been a spike in the number of calls to mental health hotlines. 

To MSF chief psychologist Vivienne Ng, the socially isolated elderly and those with disabilities are most vulnerable to requiring additional support and access to specialised services. Nonetheless a prolonged period of recession may cause an increase in depression among people , even those without preexisting mental illnesses. With economic uncertainty looming this year, the average Singaporean’s mental health has taken a toll over worrying about bread-and-butter issues. Although support is being provided for those retrenched to get back on their feet, many still worry about how they can provide the best to their loved ones. 

Hence if you’ve recently been feeling depressed, anxious or stuck in a rut, don’t fret. Reach out to one of these support services. Together, we can get through this tough time. 

Samaritans of Singapore 

Samaritans of Singapore (SOS) provides confidential emotional support to individuals facing a crisis, thinking about or affected by suicide. Their mission is to be an available lifeline to anyone by providing a listening ear, a safe space and emotional support. Understandably, the Covid-19 pandemic can be perceived as an overwhelming crisis to you. If you feel distressed and hopeless, you can contact their 24-hour hotline 1800-221-4444. The service is manned by trained volunteers, who are prepared to help you. 

If you are shy to speak to someone on the phone, you can opt to text via Facebook Message instead. SOS Care Text is a text-based service that provides emotional support for those in distress. It is also a 24/7 service that is manned by trained volunteers. Launched in July, the service actually commenced three months ahead of its planned launch. So don’t be shy, know that SOS is filled with passionate volunteers who are keen to help you with your mental health needs.

If you prefer to correspond via email, you can contact their befriending team at pat@sos.org.sg where it would take 48 hours to get a reply, excluding weekends and public holidays. SOS can also help you seek support from mental health or counselling professionals. Should you need more information, read here

National Care Hotline

Launched in April, the National Care Hotline provides emotional and psychological support to those facing difficulties during the pandemic. This can be anything that affects your mental wellbeing; from financial distress, marital and family tensions, domestic violence, and more. To call, dial 1800-202-6868.

All trained in psychological first aid, the 24-hour helpline is manned by over 300 psychologists, counsellors, social workers, psychiatrists and public officers. If needed, they may further link you up with social service agencies and specialised services.

Institute of Mental Health’s Mental Health Helpline

The Institute of Mental Health (IMH) is the first mental hospital in Singapore, which focuses on promoting mental health. They promote person-focused services that are integrated, comprehensive, accessible and cost-effective.

IMH has opened up their helpline to those beyond their own patients and caregivers. Trained counsellors can advise you on your crises, or link you up with appropriate social services if required. The helpline is open 24/7. To call, dial 6389-2222.

Silver Ribbon (Singapore)

The Singapore branch of Silver Ribbon is part of a worldwide initiative to educate the public on positive mental health and encourage an early help-seeking attitude. Silver Ribbon (Singapore) believes that caring about your mental health should not carry any stigma, and everyone in the community should possess a positive attitude towards mental health. 

Silver Ribbon (Singapore) provides basic counselling and is able to recommend further treatment to those who require it. To call, dial 6385-3714.

Singapore Association for Mental Health

Singapore Association for Mental Health (SAMH) has been uplifting lives and promoting mental wellness for all since 1968. SAMH improves the lives of persons with mental health issues through rehabilitation and reintegration. Their beneficiaries include youths, students and adults, and they further provide emotional and practical support to their families and caregivers. They wish to improve the mental resilience of the community in Singapore.

You can seek their support if you are having difficulties in your daily life, feeling stressed out or troubled,  having difficulties sleeping such as insomnia, and more. Their counsellors are experienced mental health professionals with a Master’s Degree in Psychology and/or Counselling. For help and information, call SAMH’s toll-free helpline at 1800–283–7019. It operates from 9am to 6pm on weekdays (except public holidays).

Tinkle Friend

Tinkle Friend is a service provided by Singapore Children’s Society. Tinkle Friend provides support, advice and information to lonely and distressed children, especially in situations when their parents or main givers are unavailable. Earlier in 2020, NVPC produced a short film about Tinkle Friend called “The Listener” as part of the 15 Shorts series. Watch it here to find out more about their work.

To dial, call 1800-2744-788. Alternatively, a child can chat online on https://www.tinklefriend.sg/.

The Covid-19 situation has undeniably caused further stress and impact on one’s life. Do not be nervous to seek help. Do not struggle alone, let others be there for you.