New programme in Woodlands for youth with mental health issues
A new programme for youth with a history of skipping school or run-ins with the law will be piloted in Woodlands, Senior Minister of State for Health Lam Pin Min told Parliament yesterday.
The Integrated Youth Service (IYS) will be launched in the second half of this year at the community space in Care Corner, a non-profit organisation. At-risk youth can go there for coordinated mental health and social support services.
Dr Lam said Care Corner will help strengthen their resilience by providing individualised emotional support, needs identification and peer support services. Those needing more help will be referred to the appropriate health and social services. Care Corner will also work with the Institute of Mental Health (IMH), Ministry of Health (MOH) and Agency for Integrated Care.
Going forward, MOH will work with other ministries to address youth mental health needs, he said.
Health Minister Gan Kim Yong had on Tuesday told Parliament the number of children and youth aged between seven and 18 admitted into public hospitals for mental health conditions was 569 in 2016, 640 in 2017 and 607 in 2018.
Ms Lee Yi Ping, senior case manager and team leader of the Community Health Assessment Team at IMH, a national outreach and mental health check programme for youth, said young people aged between 13 and 25 go through many developmental changes and transitions, which can increase their vulnerability to mental health conditions.
The behaviour of at-risk youth may also be a reflection of deeper psychological or emotional issues.
She added that Singapore has several community services for mental health issues but "very few are youth-specific".
All youth, not just those with problems, are welcome at the IYS programme, which may eventually be rolled out elsewhere, Ms Lee said.
"For young people who are just curious and want to know more, or looking for information to help their peers, this is a space they can come to."