As an effort to document the experiences and feedback of all Singaporeans on the access, affordability and mental healthcare and support in Singapore, Nominated Member of Parliament Anthea Ong and her team of volunteers launched the first-ever public consultation on mental health, for the purposes of supporting her on the Budget 2020 debates. From December 2019 to January 2020, we have received 395 responses from ordinary Singaporeans of all walks of life. These respondents include people with lived experiences of mental health issues, caregivers and mental health professionals.
Our public consultation looked at accessibility, affordability and quality (AAQ) of mental healthcare in Singapore, with various inter-connected focus areas across: (a) settings: schools and workplaces; (b) vulnerable communities: migrant workers, differently-abled, LGBTQIA+, and low-income elderly; and (c) specific concerns: confidentiality, suicide, emergency services, and trauma.
In the course of our work, we were mindful to look (i) beyond mental health conditions to thinking about its systemic and cultural roots, honing in on preventive upstream work and promoting mental wellness; (ii) beyond people with lived experiences of mental health conditions to the role of everyone across the whole of Singaporean society: from individuals, to families, to employers, to and communities and civil society, to government; and (iii) how our systems and policies can better meet the unique individual needs towards better mental health and wellness.
This public consultation is not an official study aligned to rigorous standards of academic research. It is entirely volunteer-run, and the responses we received are derived from online media and social media platforms where the electronic form for the consultation was shared. Apart from supporting Anthea in the Budget 2020 debates, the public consultation is not affiliated with any political, public, private or social service interests; including the Government, VWOs, business enterprises or political organisations.
Within this website, aggregated data from the public consultation is published, with individual anonymised quotes supporting the statistics. The team has taken the decision to not publish the entire dataset from the consultation as (a) some respondents have indicated that they do not consent to individual responses being shared in any form (b) although some respondents have indicated they consent to their responses being shared as anonymised quotes, no explicit consent was provided for sharing their responses on this particular website (c) to maintain the safe space we have created for our respondents to share their honest feedback openly with us.
In the spirit of transparency, we are open to reviewing individual requests for more information. Any information released will be subject to the consent of all respondents involved. For these requests of information, you may contact us through the “Contact” section of this website.
At the current moment of writing, we are still in discussions in determining a suitable balance between (a) transparency and accountability (b) safety and responsibility (c) openness and confidentiality as we continue to develop this website. With the stigma and discrimination against mental illnesses in Singaporean society, our respondents, as well as those of future public consultations on mental health, may only be willing to share their responses with the knowledge that these will be kept completely anonymous. We seek your understanding that we have done our due diligence in the collection and analysis of all responses received for this public consultation, and we will endeavour to publish as much data and insights as we are able to in time to come.