SINGAPORE, Jan 12 — The Covid-19 pandemic has led to more stresses and challenges affecting Singapore’s youths, but the Government is working to safeguard their mental health, Edwin Tong said.
The Minister for Culture, Community and Youth was replying yesterday to a parliamentary question filed by Member of Parliament (MP) Cheng Li Hui.
Tong revealed that one in five young people surveyed by the National Youth Council (NYC) between February and October last year said that their mental well-being was poor or very poor.
“The youths in the survey indicated that they were stressed about the Covid-19 situation and uncertain about their future. They continue to also be concerned about more enduring issues such as their studies, and work-life balance for working youths,” he added.
Cheng, who is MP for Tampines Group Representation Constituency, had asked whether the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth has data on the number of young people seeking professional help since more of them seem to be turning to unhealthy coping habits such as excessive online gaming, drinking and shopping during the pandemic.
Tong referred to the findings of the TODAY Annual Youth Survey 2021, which indicated that the majority of young people here were adopting a range of health coping mechanisms such as exercising (53 per cent), talking to loved ones (52 per cent), starting a new hobby (40 per cent) and being in the nature and outdoors (36 per cent).
About 66 per cent of respondents in the TODAY survey, which polled 1,066 young people between the ages of 18 and 34 in October last year, were willing to seek professional help, he noted.
“This is encouraging, and consistent with NYC’s findings. Such help-seeking behaviour is reassuring, so that our youths can receive help in a timely manner.”
Tong said the Government works closely with community partners to provide a range of professional services for the young to strengthen their mental health and well-being.
He listed several organisations where they may seek help, such as the Institute of Mental Health’s National Addiction Management Service clinic or its Chat Health Assessment Team (Chat).
Social service agencies also have programmes that engage the youth through a variety of activities such as sports, adventure activities and the performing arts.
There are online counselling services available as well. One of them is eC2 by Fei Yue Community Services.
“Our youths are our future, and our Government and partners in society are doing all we can to build an eco-system that can safeguard and strengthen our youths’ mental well-being and resilience.
“We are doing this so our youths can overcome the challenges of this pandemic, thrive beyond the pandemic and in turn, contribute to building the future of our society, community and nation,” Tong said. — TODAY