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Opening remarks by Ms Sun Xueling, Minister of State, Ministry for Social and Family Development & Ministry of Home Affairs at Launch of Design for WEllness on 18 June 2024

Type: Official Speeches (All) Official Speeches: Sun Xueling


Children & Families

  1. I would like to thank the Shermain, and organisers of Design for Wellness, the team at Total Wellness Initiative Singapore, or TWIS, for putting together this inspiring initiative.


  2. This is the second time I am joining you for the event, and I am really delighted that we have been partnering with NLB for the second iteration as well as the first. When I first attended the event in 2022 at Woodlands Regional Library, where 90 submissions from the public had translated into 300 decals. Fast forward to this year, the number of submissions had gone up to 257 submissions, and 1500 decals to be displayed across 7 libraries – including Punggol library.


  3. To all participants of Design for Wellness, I commend your efforts and creativity. One thing I realised when I saw your decals, and when I looked at the artwork that is shown in the cards, is how youthful they actually all come across. And this is very important because this initiative is by young people for young people. At the same time, it is made available in public spaces like the National Library, so that all members of society can come into contact with them.

    Importance of Mental Health today


  4. The importance of mental wellness cannot be overstated given today’s demands and stressors in our lives.


  5. The latest National Population Health Survey conducted by the Ministry of Health found that 17 per cent of Singapore residents reported poor mental health in 2022, up from 13.4 per cent in 2020. What is particularly worrying is that the same study found that the highest proportion of people with poor mental health were youths aged 18 to 29 years old, with about a quarter of persons surveyed reporting poor mental health.


    Whole-of-Society Efforts to Promote Mental Health


  6. To address this, the Interagency Taskforce on Mental Health and Well-being launched the National Mental Health and Well-Being Strategy in October 2023,


  7. We are taking steps to enhance the capacity of our mental health services.


  8. The Government aims to increase the pool of psychiatrists and psychologists in the public sector by 30 and 40 per cent respectively by 2030. Additionally, there will be efforts to train more frontline personnel to recognise and provide basic emotional support to those in need.


  9. Besides expanding our services, we recognise that we will  require a whole-of-society approach – which means support from teachers, peers, family members and coworkers. We need to equip them to better support their own mental wellness and to care for their friends, families and communities. Initiatives like Well-Being Circles, which are led by volunteers, play a crucial role in raising awareness and training peer supporters to prioritise their own mental wellness while also providing care for others.


  10. It is very important that we have partnerships and community efforts to promote mental health and thus, the collaboration between NLB and TWIS is one such example of an impactful partnership between the Public and People sectors.


  11. Among their many programmes, TWIS is also partnering agencies like the Institute of Mental Health and social sector organisations. Many of their programmes are informed by research and clinical findings to equip youths and adults on the ground with practical tools they can use to care for their well-being.


To me, this represents the best of our kampong spirit, where citizens create change, enabled by public sector organisations. I will end off by saying that the Ministry of Social and Family Development has designated 2024 as the Year of Celebrating Volunteers. Community organisations on the ground can only do as much as they are able to, and we need members of public and community members to join them in their causes. With that, I look forward to more of such collaborative initiatives from TWIS, as well as many more community partners who are all working very hard on the ground to join in, contribute to the spirit of volunteerism and promote better mental well-being for all Singaporeans.


Thank you very much.