SINGAPORE — Mental health conditions have deteriorated among Singaporeans, but there is a growing willingness to seek assistance, according to a survey conducted by the Ministry of Health (MOH).
The ministry's National Population Health Survey 2022, released on Wednesday (27 September), delved into the well-being of Singapore residents aged 18 to 74 during the period from July 2021 to June 2022.
The data collection involved interviews with about 8,000 adults and health examinations of about 9,000 adults.
Growing concerns about mental health among young adults
The survey revealed a notable increase in the prevalence of poor mental health, rising from 13.4 per cent in 2020 to 17 per cent in 2022.
Among those with poor mental health, younger adults aged 18 to 29 make up the highest proportion at 25.3 per cent, while other age groups range from 10.5 per cent for those aged 60 to 74 to 19.4 per cent for those aged 30 to 39.
Furthermore, the survey found that females are more likely to report poor mental health (18.6 per cent) compared to males (15.2 per cent).
While the rise in poor mental health is concerning, the MOH survey also found an encouraging shift in attitudes towards seeking help.
Residents' growing willingness to seek mental health support
In 2022, about 56.6 per cent of Singapore residents expressed their willingness to seek help from health professionals, slightly lower than the 58.3 per cent reported in 2021 but still significantly higher than the 47.8 per cent in 2019.
The age groups varied in their willingness to seek help, with residents aged 60 to 74 being the least inclined (48.1 per cent) and those aged 30 to 39 being the most willing (62 per cent).
Additionally, more residents are open to seeking support from informal networks like friends and family, with the proportion rising to 79.7 per cent in 2022, up from 69.1 per cent in 2021 and 74.5 per cent in 2019.
Young adults aged 18 to 29 exhibit the highest willingness to seek help from these networks at 88.1 per cent, while older adults aged 60 to 74 are the least inclined at 68.4 per cent.
MOH and Health Promotion Board (HPB) jointly stated that the increase in people seeking help for mental health issues reflects reduced stigma and continued public awareness.
The authorities are also working on strengthening the mental health and well-being of the population through the development of a national strategy by the Interagency Taskforce on Mental Health and Well-being.
The task force was set up in 2021 to oversee national efforts to promote mental health and well-being beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.
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