SG Mental Health Matters is a community initiative that was started off as a simple public consultation exercise to support Nominated Member of Parliament Anthea Ong's preparation for the Budget 2020 debates focusing on mental healthcare and mental wellbeing. What was to be an effort to gather feedback from a few Singaporeans turned into close to 400 responses from the Public Consultation, within a matter of a couple of weeks!
This tells us many of you want to be heard. So we decided we will create this space for you to join in the conversation too, to share your challenges, your hopes and also your asks for change. We hope that this is a ground-up effort that can involve more people to advocate for better mental health and well-being of all in Singapore!
With the overwhelming response rate and support received, we came to the conclusion that it will be a disservice to respondents for the consultation to be utilised solely for Budget 2020, in light of the immense amounts of effort and hope that respondents have invested in their responses. Hence, this website, SGMentalHealthMatters.com, was set up. We took this extraordinary step in order to:
As part of the public consultation efforts, we are grateful to have the opportunity to engage the following organizations and initiatives to better understand the needs and challenges faced by different communities.
Anthea Ong likes to wear hats—many of them at a go, in fact. She is a mover and shaker in the local volunteerism scene, having spearheaded several ground-up movements in service of humanity. She is passionate about educating others about mental health, social inclusion and climate change, topics which she has been bringing to the table in her capacity as a Nominated Member of Parliament.
“Mental health and climate change are so invisible they are often pushed to the ‘important but not urgent quadrant,” she explained.
And for mental health, there is a second reason: “Bringing it up at this level of society would be a big, big way of destigmatising mental health (conditions).”
Nominated MP Anthea Ong had also spoken out against such declarations in her first parliamentary speech in November 2018. She told ST many international firms have long abolished the practice.
"This discriminatory practice is so entrenched in Singapore, especially amongst local employers, that dislodging this signals the first of many critical structural changes we need, to destigmatise mental health so as to be a truly inclusive and resilient society," she said.