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Opening Remarks by Ms Sun Xueling, Minister of State for Social and Family Development & Home Affairs, At McDonald's Family Mental Wellness Event

Type: Official Speeches: Sun Xueling

Topic(s): Children & Families

Mr Benjamin Boh
Managing Director, McDonald’s Singapore

Fellow Panellist Members,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

1. Thank you, Ben and Linda, for your warm remarks. Our distinguished panel, our friends from MSF and the media, a very good morning to you.

2. I think many of us associate happiness with McDonald's and I'm delighted to be launching McDonald's Family Mental Wellness Campaign today.

Mental Wellness Begins at Home
3. Firstly, I think we all agree and recognize that families are the bedrock of our society. Families are often key anchors for our children. Parents are the first people that children go to for support, and assurance. Strong families help anchor and provide the foundation for parents to raise children to become resilient individuals. Strong families allow children to be empowered, supported, and feel assured that they are capable of tackling challenges that come their way.

4. Children learn and model after family members - especially their parents. They see how parents interact with one another and with other family members through their choice of words, body language, and actions. They observe how family members show love and concern for one another by actively listening, respecting, and appreciating one another. These are key areas highlighted in our family pledge in support of the Year of Celebrating SG Families. I hope everyone can join in and pledge your commitment to strengthen your family bonds.

Being There for Our Children
5. The pandemic has impacted our children’s lives by disrupting their routines, their social interactions with friends and extended family. This also negatively affects their overall mental well-being. Studies reveal that one in three youths in Singapore have mental health symptoms such as sadness, anxiety and loneliness. I think this is a wake-up call for all of us.

6. When we think about mental well-being and mental health struggles, telling signs of such issues are not always well defined and easily identifiable. Often mental health struggles are discovered through very innocuous moments. Hence, by being there for our children and sharing strong family bonds, we may be able to notice something unusual about their behaviour and realise help is needed.

7. During times of struggles, we must be mindful and sensitive to our children’s needs. This we can only do so by building and nurturing warm and trusting relationships with our children.

8. The tagline of this Family Mental Wellness Campaign, “Our children need us more than we realise”, is a timely reminder that every moment we spend with our children, we are also keeping a lookout for them.

9. This is the Year of Celebrating SG families, and MSF is actively working with community partners to have more engagements and activities to strengthen marriages and family relationships. I am heartened that McDonald's is partnering Families for Life to strengthen family relationships.

Positive Parenting Programme
10. MSF has also been promoting the Positive Parenting Programme. This is an evidence-based bite-sized programme andshows that 85% of parents endorse this programme. This programme has been running for the past seven years, and it has
been very well received by over 58,000 parents. We are delighted to partner McDonald's to roll out this programme in their outlets.

11. McDonald's will be rolling this programme out at Lot One, as well as at SAFRA Yishun, with plans to roll it out to more outlets for the rest of the year. Parents who have attended this programme have reported a sustained reduction in both their children's problematic behaviour scores, as well as their own parenting stress scores about
three months after completing the programme.

12. Through the partnership with McDonald’s, we hope that this programme become more accessible to parents. Plus, prompt parents to think about their children’s mental well-being, as they enjoy happy family time together

13. With that, I wish everyone a good week ahead with lots of quality time with your families. I hope you make use of the long weekend ahead to curate meaningful and happy memories with your children and your family members, so that we can strengthen marriages and family relationships. Thank you very much.