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Communities

Some communities are especially vulnerable to poor mental health. This is due to a myriad of social, cultural and environmental factors, limiting their access to proper mental health support systems.


The LGBTQ+ community is one such vulnerable group. 14 (3.5%) indicated that they faced issues related to mental health specific to the LGBTQ+ community. 


9 (2.3%) indicated that they have encountered a lack of LGBTQ+ affirming mental healthcare. Apart from suggesting that certain mental healthcare professionals were ignorant of the discrimination faced by the community, some respondents talked about the obvious homophobic behaviour they encountered while seeking treatment for mental health.


  • Respondent #305: “[There is a] lack of support for LGBTQ people and our experiences. My first counsellor openly told me that before he met me he had a prejudice towards gay people, he also questioned whether I really thought s377A and the government are truly making things difficult for LGBTQ people.” 


13 (3.3%) referenced the “double stigma” faced by the LGBTQ+ community, of dealing with homophobia in society coupled with the stigma against mental illnesses. 


  • Respondent #186: “Depression came to my adult life due to years of struggles with sexual orientation. There was nothing in our education system or media that provided positive directions or resources for help. News of positive gay persons and relationships are suppressed in our society which creates a sense of isolation. Negative news is allowed which produces an unhealthy stereotype. And with that much self judgement and low self worth - key ingredients for depression and suicide. Even though the current situation is better it has not made life any easier as every day is lived in hiding.”


6 (1.5%) expressed that they faced issues of confidentiality, particularly with mental healthcare professionals disclosing their gender or sexual orientation to their family members without their consent.


  • Respondent #204: “I was in an all-girls secondary school and was shamed for having same-sex attractions. My girlfriend and I were threatened with punishment and worst of all, we were threatened that our parents would be informed if we didn't end our same-sex relationship.”
  • Respondent #241: “As a queer person, it’s harder to take the step to access mental healthcare as there are various barriers that are specific to the experiences of the LGBT community. A few examples are the fear that the mental healthcare provider might be homophobic, might regard your gender identity or sexual orientation as the ROOT cause of the mental illness, might out you to your family.”


Another vulnerable group are people with impairments, which constitute 8 (2.0%) of our total respondents. Within our consultation, we received 7 responses from respondents on the autism spectrum, with 1 response from a respondent belonging to the Deaf community. 


Responses typically refer to the need for Singaporeans to be more understanding of their impairments, indicating that discrimination by others exacerbates their mental health conditions.


  • Respondent #338: “Mental health of autistics can be improved if society stops operating on the basis of social rules and norms, but be understanding toward different kind of minds and way of communication and give us space to be ourselves, even when we seem socially awkward to them.”


Migrant workers are another vulnerable group, given the relative lack of control they possess over their working and living conditions. Within our consultation, we received 2 (0.5%) responses referencing issues with mental health specific to migrant workers.


  • Respondent #324: "(Their mental health condition is exacerbated by the) lack of rest days, costs, mental health services do not cater to languages of migrants, fear of employment retaliation, fear of deportation by government if diagnosed with mental health illness”