Singapore has the highest rate for OC disorder

June 28, 2012

SINGAPORE – The city state’s Health Promotion Board is looking abroad for ways to improve its citizens’ mental health. It plans to commission a study of three to five countries or cities that have shown ‘remarkable progress’ in this area. The aim is to look at how they do it and learn from their best practices. Looking for a contractor to carry out the two-month study, it called a tender, which closed on June 12.

A spokesman said the project was part of plans ‘to improve our capabilities in mental health promotion, and to benchmark ourselves against the world and identify best practices’.

More than 10% of people in Singapore will suffer from mental illness at some point in their lives, according to research released last November by the Institute of Mental Health.

Mental illness trends here generally follow global ones, but Singapore has the highest rate for obsessive-compulsive disorder, which hits 3% of people here. The figure for the United States is 2.3%, while in Europe, it is 1.1%.

The new study has two broad targets: to look at ways to help Singaporeans cope with stress and ‘flourish’, and to look at how to prevent mental disorders such as dementia among the elderly.

The Singapore Association for Mental Health said people in the Republic are likely to face increasing stress from work and family-related issues, with the volatile global economy one possible factor.

‘People will need more mental resilience and personal coping strategies,’ said its associate director of corporate services James Wong.

The association suggested setting up mental health clinics within neighborhoods, for example at HDB blocks, to provide an easy avenue for those who need help. More public education through mass media such as television shows and advertisements could also encourage more Singaporeans to seek help when they need it, it added.

Some countries have set up program that help delay the onset of mental sickness. In Britain, a Centre for Mental Health conducts workplace training to help managers’ spot employees who may be on the verge of mental problems such as depression and anxiety. In Australia, several national initiatives help address the needs of different communities.

Source: The Straits Times

Category: Education

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