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Schools

Amongst 395 respondents, 100 (25.3%) indicated that they faced issues surrounding mental health within the settings of schools. That is 1 in 4 of all respondents, suggesting that mental health education and counselling services within schools are key concerns for a considerable number of Singaporeans.


30 (7.6%) felt that the quality of counselling can be improved, particularly on their subject matter expertise on mental health.


  • Respondent #45: “School counsellors seem more like admin staff, rather than trained counsellors.”
  • Respondent #134: “I visited at least 2 school counsellors but neither of them was able to identify my condition as OCD. It took me 9 years to finally approach a private specialist on my own who diagnosed me”
  • Respondent #242: “One (counsellor) completely dismissed me when I told her about my symptoms, and another one recommended exercise as a form of weight loss to someone with an eating disorder.”


6 (1.5%) felt that the number of counsellors was insufficient, or waiting times were too long. This suggests that certain schools may have issues with their counsellor-student ratio.


  • Respondent #308: “Perhaps more counsellors should be put in each school too, that or mental health advocacy needs to be promoted as a more peer-support thing and a normalised thing so that there is less strain on school counsellors. I met my secondary school counsellor a few years after I'd graduated and I found out that she left the school too because of the stress and strain of lack of manpower.”


7 (1.8%) encountered confidentiality issues about their mental health conditions within schools. Most concerns were centred around the lack of clarity surrounding the disclosure of their mental health information to their parents and family.


  • Respondent #90: “My very first interaction with a mental health practitioner was with a school counselor in 2014. She did not ask for my consent or inform me prior to asking my parents in for a family meeting. Nor did she inform me that we were going to end our sessions, just when I was starting to have something to look forward to each week. She asked if I was suicidal without first building any rapport & when I said no she just left it at that. She did ask what we would like to work on that day, but other than that did not seek feedback.”


3 (0.8%) felt that mental health screenings should be conducted in schools, in parity with current screenings for physical health and dental conditions.


  • Respondent #300: “Mental screening is as important in schools as physical screenings.”