SINGAPORE — More than 6,600 people have called the National CARE hotline for mental and emotional help since the 24-hour helpline was launched on 10 April.
Minister for Social and Family Development, Desmond Lee, said in a post on his Facebook page on Wednesday (29 April) that anxiety, the need for emotional support, concerns over finances and marital disputes were among the top issues surfaced by the callers.
“Some callers expressed fear over the spread of COVID-19, and were worried about their health and future,” he said in his post.
“Others shared their frustration dealing with the impact of the pandemic on their daily lives, while our counsellors offered them a listening ear.
“We are grateful to the estimated 500 National CARE Hotline volunteers who have so eagerly stepped forward to be there for those among us who may feel downcast or distressed.”
Multifaceted challenges during crisis
Lee said that each call is unique, and presents a glimpse into the multifaceted challenges different individuals are facing in this crisis.
He cited the example of one of the volunteer duty CARE officers (DCO) receiving a call from a parent who was worried that the child’s pre-existing health condition seemed to be worsening, and was feeling stressed. The DCO provided strategies to cope with caring for and supporting the child.
“One of our DCOs attended to an elderly person whose insomnia had worsened because of fears about COVID-19,” Lee said in his Facebook post.
“Our DCO gave the caller tips to manage anxiety and referred the caller to healthcare services, as the caller was assessed to require further support.”
Lee said that many of the youths and young adults in Singapore are understandably anxious about their future, giving the uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic situation.
While many of them are speaking to their peers online for advice, Lee has encouraged those who still feel overwhelmed to speak to a trained counsellor, who can help process their feelings and give them practical and healthy coping tips.
“Taking care of our mental and emotional health is key to us emerging stronger from this crisis,” he said. “Let’s encourage our family members and friends whom we know are feeling down or distressed to pick up the phone and dial in to the National CARE Hotline, or our other community helplines.”
Helplines available in Singapore
Here is a list of helplines available in Singapore:
National CARE Hotline: 1800-202-6868
Mental well-being: Fei Yue’s Online Counselling Service (eC2.sg), Institute of Mental Health’s Mental Health Helpline (6389-2222), Samaritans of Singapore (1800-221-4444), Silver Ribbon Singapore (6385-3714).
Marital and parenting issues: Community Psychology Hub’s Online Counselling platform (CPHOnlineCounselling.sg)
Violence or abuse: Big Love Child Protection Specialist Centre (6445-0400), HEART @ Fei Yue Child Protection Specialist Centre (6819-9170), PAVE Integrated Services for Individual and Family Protection (6555-0390), Project StART (6476-1482), TRANS SAFE Centre (6449-9088).
Counselling: TOUCHline (Counselling – 1800-377-2252), Care Corner Counselling Centre (1800-353-5800).
Elderly: Agency for Integrated Care Hotline – 1800-650-6060
For all other helplines, visit go.gov.sg/hotlines.
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