Access to mental health care is vital in the recovery journey of anyone going through struggles with regards to mental health. However, in our survey, 151 (38.2%) of respondents faced issues in accessing mental healthcare treatment.

71 (18.0%) felt that lack of clear, trusted and consolidated information was a barrier to seeking help.

  • Respondent #87: “It’s hard to go about finding a mental health expert if you don’t know people who have gone through that process. You might not know where to go (a Google search gives you many options but there is no platform or forum where people talk about the different kinds of approaches that different professionals take in SG), what to look out for, how to go about checking if they are legitimate, etc. It costs too much to try to find a suitable expert on a trial-and-error basis.”
  • Respondent #128: “I didn't want to go IMH straight because I didn't think it was severe enough. And when I called another hotline, the person was quite dismissive. But I was desperate, so I kept googling solutions. Luckily polyclinics' services appeared and I felt it was easier to go in and get a diagnosis before I went directly to a mental health practitioner… I called the hotline during the early stages of my depression. And because of that experience, I only sought help about 2 years later, and it was nearly too late.”

30(7.6%) faced issues with referrals.

  • Respondent #353: “Thirdly, for subsidised treatment - in my experience, I have had to go through the polyclinic route, regardless of the urgency of my situation and had to wait for a referral and eventually an appointment. I, for the most part, was able to wait, with the exception of once or twice when I did have to seek immediate treatment and find ways to pay for unsubsidised healthcare. But for those who do need immediate care, the referral system and waiting period is, to put it lightly, perilous.”
  • Respondent #158: “Options through public services can involve a long wait and multiple appointments, which deters people too- you will need a referral from polyclinic, then wait for appointment with a psychiatrist, then get psychologist for therapy. It is also only available during office hours.”
  • Respondent #29: “[I suggest] easier, simpler referrals to suitable professionals. We had to go seek direct help at IMH's emergency services after months of futile attempt trying to seek help via polyclinics and mental health social workers at family service centers.“

17(4.3%) had issues with hotlines.

  • Respondent #174: “Taking the first step is daunting and there should be private, easy, and clear channels for this. Maybe a telegram helpbot, or a number that people can text privately. No one calls a hotline anymore and anything that requires registration makes it a turn-off to someone who is very vulnerable.”
  • Respondent #154: “Maybe an online suicide chat instead of a hotline for people with phone anxiety (like me)“
  • Respondent #353: “Once in my experience, I called for help and had to redial multiple times before I reached someone. Before I could explain what I was going through, I was told instead, to take myself to IMH's ER.”