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Can Technology Help Improve S’pore's Mental Health?

Singapore is known for being one of the wealthier nations in the world, and also for having a fantastic health care system. However (and especially if the United States can be used as an example) having a good health care system does not necessarily mean that citizens have their mental health taken care of.

Fortunately, a study was recently released describing the mental health statistics of Singapore. For a country with such fantastic healthcare, the statistics may not reflect what you imagine. The study, published by the Institute of Mental Health, can be found here.

In this article, we’ll provide an outline of the mental health situation in Singapore and give some suggestions on how new technologies may be able to improve the mental health situation in the region.

Singapore Mental Health Statistics

There are some statistics regarding Singapore’s state of mental health that stand out above the rest. These include:

  • Singapore has remarkably high rates of depression compared to other high-income nations.
  • Fortunately, this depression tends not to stick around for a long time. The country boasts a very low rate of lifetime mental health disorders, with only 13.9% of the afflicted having their condition affect them for their whole lives.
  • The rates of lifetime anxiety disorders are quite low, at 1.6%.
  • Mental health care treatment is incredibly expensive, equating to about $200,000 American dollars for a year of inpatient care.
  • Singapore has a very low number of psychiatrists and other mental healthcare providers.

When considered together, these issues suggest that Singapore could do well from improving some of the aspects of their mental health system. One of the ways that they could do that is by implementing some new technologies, such as telehealth. If you haven’t heard of telehealth, there are entire websites dedicated to explaining what it is.

How Can Telehealth Improve Singapore’s Mental Health Situation

Telehealth originated in the first half of the 20th century, when doctors and other mental health professionals realized that they could provide diagnoses and prescribe medication over the phone. This allowed for patients to connect with them if they were not otherwise able to get to the doctor’s office.

Since then, technology has improved significantly, and so has the availability and efficacy of telehealth. There are a number of ways that telehealth could be useful for improving the mental health situation in Singapore.

  • Telehealth can bring mental health services to a larger number of people. While there are a limited number of psychiatrists and psychologists in Singapore compared to the population, telehealth does not necessarily mandate connecting with local psychiatrists or counselors. In fact, Singapore residents can use telehealth to connect with mental health practitioners around the globe.
  • Telehealth is generally a lot more affordable than seeking help for mental health issues in person.
  • Telehealth is a viable way for people to seek mental health treatment from the comfort of their own homes. This allows for people who are physically disabled to seek treatment, and also for people who are concerned about being judged.

Telehealth is available in many forms. Telehealth apps are one of the easiest ways to access telehealth. These apps can be downloaded onto any smartphone or tablet, and allow you to access telehealth from wherever you are. 

Telehealth – especially when related to mental health – has been shown to be just as useful as therapy for people who are hoping to work through mental health problems. Combined with the affordability and added convenience of mobile support, there’s no doubt that telehealth can be useful for everyone.

Conclusion

Like many countries, Singapore struggles to fully address the mental health of its people. Alternative technologies like telehealth can help encourage the people of Singapore to improve mental health on their own.

 

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