Back then, the level of awareness and information surrounding mental health care wasn’t as readily available as it is now. Even then, there is a stigmatisation around seeking help for mental well-being – something that we as a society need to unlearn with practice.
What is a mental illness? According to the Singapore Association for Mental Health (SAMH), a mental illness is a disturbance we experience in our minds that impairs the way we think, feel and behave. Many of us have probably experienced this at one point or another, or perhaps have friends and family who are dealing with various mental health issues. In fact, this year alone (2020) has seen a stark increase in reports of mental health problems. Samaritans of Singapore received 24,460 calls from Jan to Aug, up from 21,429 the year before during Covid-19. And, suicide remains one of the leading causes of deaths for youths – with 71 people from ages 20-29 in 2019.
Being able to identify and work towards ending stigmatisation around mental health illnesses can go a long way in improving the state of mental health in Singapore. By improving resources available, we can fight against ignorance and positively impact the diagnosis and treatment of mental illnesses. Taking care of your health and wellness goes beyond insurance planning, doctor visits and the like – prioritising your mind and spirit is something we often overlook when it comes to our health.
Taking care of your mind & spirit for better mental health
When it comes to taking care of your health, there is more to it than just your physical health. A healthy state of being involves the mental and physical. We may be more used to dealing with the physical side of well-being, such as doctor visits, healthy weight and health coverage.
Over the years, we’ve seen an uptick in wellness-related programmes and activities – designed to help you relax, rejuvenate and recharge. Learning to truly unplug and unwind is not as easy as one would think. One way to inculcate some time for yourself is to pick an activity that you enjoy and make time for it everyday. It can be something as simple as taking a walk, listening to a podcast, or practising your yoga stretches. Making time for ourselves is the best way we can put in practice our commitment and love for our own minds and bodies. A little goes a long way, do what feels good!
Is mental wellness covered in insurance policies in Singapore?
Although expat and local health covers usually insure for physical ailments, there are a number of policies that provide for mental health issues. For instance, the Medisave Chronic Disease Management Programme (CDMP) covers major mental health illnesses such as depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, anxiety, dementia, and schizophrenia. CDMP is only applicable to outpatient treatment for these five diseases, and you can claim up to $500 per Medisave account per year, subject to a 15% co-payment in cash.
Understanding the signs and symptoms of mental health problems can help with quicker diagnosis and effective treatment. Treatment options for mental health disorders can vary individual to individual. For some, therapy alone will suffice while for others, a combination of medication and therapy works best. In fact, finding a good therapist is also a task in itself. A therapist that you are able to be in tune with, relate to and communicate with is one that can be instrumentally helpful in your journey to feeling better.
Consult the Expat Insurance team in Singapore to discuss your options.
Improving general public education around mental health
One of the biggest ways we can improve the state of mental health topics, diagnosis and treatment involves improving public education. The increasing numbers of youths diagnosed with mental health issues only serve as an indication that better resources need to be supplied to the public.
Efforts from the youth community, such as Your Head Lah!, Acting Up, Limitless and Tapestry Project are motivating to see. That said, improving education in schools can do a lot in terms of re-scripting the narrative around mental health. Expanding the curriculum to include mental health in physical education will emphasise that health should be viewed holistically. Peer support programmes can also empower those feeling uncertain or afraid to broach the topic.
Rewriting the narrative will move the needle on the progress of mental health in Singapore, along with other initiatives such as wellness-incorporated insurance policies and self-care efforts.
Making changes for a better you
These changes not only benefit you on the whole, but also empower you to prioritise your mental and physical health. A healthier you is a more motivated and successful you. Get the aid of our team of insurance brokers to see what type of policies best meet your needs.