One-stop mental health hub opens in Punggol
Teenagers and senior citizens facing mental health issues can now find help at a one-stop centre. Located on the first storey of a Housing Board block, the new Integrated Service Centre @ Punggol (ISC @ Punggol) by AMKFSC Community Services combines its support arms for the young, the elderly and those with mental health issues.
"With the increasing complexity of social challenges such as mental health issues and the ageing population, the integrated centre serves as a focal point to cater to and address these challenges," a spokesman for the group said.
Young people and the elderly have emerged as two vulnerable groups when it comes to mental health.
Last year, the Community Health Assessment Team, an outreach arm of the Institute of Mental Health, said the number of young people aged between 16 and 30 who approached it for help almost tripled between 2015 and 2017, from 550 to 1,580.
Suicide prevention agency Samaritans of Singapore said the number of elderly people taking their own lives reached a record high of 129 in 2017. This is the highest since tracking of suicide numbers began in 1991.
The AMKFSC spokesman said one way to help both groups would be to foster "co-creation and collaborations across generations", adding that one of its pilot programmes, Artship Studio, gets them to create art together.
President Halimah Yacob attended the official opening of ISC @ Punggol on Tuesday, during which an inter-generational art exhibition and performances co-created by youth and seniors were put up.
Beyond providing professional help to those with mental health issues, ISC @ Punggol will also organise events to increase public awareness on what remains a taboo topic.
Its existing #imOKru campaign, short for "I'm okay, are you?", is a comprehensive outreach programme involving platforms such as a mobile app, events and talks in schools to reduce the stigma of mental health.
The centre will also offer a range of support not directly related to mental health issues, such as helping young people quit smoking and providing cooking lessons for the elderly.