betty July 16, 2022

SINGAPORE – Community volunteers and grassroots leaders, along with social service partners, will soon be mobilised at several neighbourhoods to counsel residents who are struggling with their mental health and run well-being programmes.

These community “well-being circles” will be a key component of a nationwide initiative – the SG Mental Well-Being Network – launched on Saturday (July 16) to safeguard the mental health of people of all ages in Singapore.

It will comprise partners such as social service agencies and mental health advocacy organisations and be chaired by Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth Alvin Tan.

Due to proximity, neighbours and members of the community form the first line of support for residents who are struggling with stress and worry, said the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY), which will be overseeing the network.

Therefore, the new network will strengthen peer support within neighbourhoods create safe spaces and equip participating residents with the skills to identify those who may need help.  

Mr Tan added that community support will alleviate the strain on professional services, including those by psychiatrists and psychologists.

The circles will be piloted at several grassroots divisions before being scaled up nationwide.

“We hope to encourage a larger movement on mental health, where everyone has the knowledge and the basic skills on mental well-being, and to grow a pool of passionate citizens who can take action in this area,” said Mr Tan.

He was speaking at the launch of the network at the Asian Civilisations Museum on Saturday.

The network also aims to help citizens raise their mental health literacy, make resources and services more accessible, and destigmatise the topic. 

Each well-being circle will have programmes catering to the needs of the respective neighbourhood.

Under the pilot, some social service agencies and non-profits will be attached to specific neighbourhoods to help grassroots volunteers run programmes.