Parliamentary Question, 5 August 2019
Ms Anthea Ong asked the Minister for Education, Mr Ong Ye Kung (a) what is the Ministry’s strategic plan for mental health education and its de-stigmatisation; (b) whether the Ministry has considered re-framing physical health education to total health education that includes mental and emotional health; © whether feedback on the mental and emotional health of students are regularly collated and parents informed accordingly; (d) whether co-curricular programmes are recommended to schools to normalise mental health and improve help-seeking behaviours and, if so, what are these programmes; and (e) whether the Ministry will consider partnering external organisations to provide training and support to students’ families.
Mr Ong Ye Kung: MOE adopts a holistic approach to supporting student well-being, covering physical health, social and emotional development and psychological support when necessary.
We strengthen students’ mental health through lessons on Character and Citizenship, Form Teacher Guidance Period and Physical Education. We build character in students through experiential learning platforms such as Co-Curricular Activities, Values-in-Action programme and outdoor education.
Our schools teach students social and emotional competencies such as relationship management, stress management and help-seeking skills, which are then put into practice when students engage in various school activities. The curriculum was enhanced recently to raise greater awareness of common mental illnesses, normalise help-seeking behaviour, reduce stigmatisation, and promote peer support.
Teachers monitor the well-being of students and work closely with parents and school counsellors to render additional support to those who need it. Schools also work with partners such as the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF), mental health professionals and Family Service Centres to support students and their families within the community.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Anthea Ong is a Nominated Member of Parliament. (A Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) is a Member of the Parliament of Singapore who is appointed by the President. They are not affiliated to any political party and do not represent any constituency. There are currently nine NMPs in Parliament.)
The multi-sector perspective that comes from her ground immersion of 12 years in different capacities helps her translate single-sector issues and ideas across boundaries without alienating any particular community/group. As an entrepreneur and with many years in business leadership, it is innate in her to discuss social issues with the intent of finding solutions, or at least of exploring possibilities. She champions mental health, diversity and inclusion — and volunteerism in Parliament.
She is also an impact entrepreneur/investor and a passionate mental health advocate, especially in workplace wellbeing. She started WorkWell Leaders Workgroup in May 2018 to bring together top leaders (CXOs, Heads of HR/CSR/D&I) of top employers in Singapore (both public and private) to share, discuss and co-create inclusive practices to promote workplace wellbeing. Anthea is also the founder of Hush TeaBar, Singapore’s 1st silent teabar and a social movement that aims to bring silence, self care and social inclusion into every workplace, every community — with a cup of tea. The Hush Experience is completely led by lovingly-trained Deaf facilitators, supported by a team of Persons with Mental Health Issues (PMHIs).
Follow Anthea Ong on her public page at www.facebook.com/antheaonglaytheng