Ms Joan Pereira
MP for Tanjong Pagar GRC
To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development how can the Ministry work more closely with the Ministry of Education to teach students to spot signs and symptoms of depression and seek help for themselves or their family and friends.
1 It is important to strengthen our children's social and emotional resilience so that they can manage stress well and cope with future challenges. MSF works closely with the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health and other agencies to support our children and youth in their mental well-being. For instance, MSF was part of the NurtureSG Taskforce that made recommendations to improve the health outcomes of our children and youth, including their mental well-being.
2 In schools, the Character and Citizenship Education curriculum aims to raise awareness of mental health, reduce stigmatisation associated with mental health issues, help both staff and students to recognise signs of distress, e.g. unexplained injuries, sending or posting moody messages online, and encourage them to seek help for themselves and others around them. Students are also taught to look out for and support one another, and to alert their teachers, school counsellors or parents if their friends are affected by difficulties. School counsellors may refer children with psycho-social issues to mental health professionals.
3 Family members and members of the community can also play a role to spot students with depression symptoms. For example, members of the community may encourage individuals or families in need to approach an Family Service Centre (FSC) for assistance. The social workers at the FSCs will work with the school and other specialists in the community to provide holistic interventions to the student and his/her family to overcome their issues and support them towards long-term stability.