Speech by Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for Health, at the official opening of Brahm Centre @ Simei, 15 December 2017

Mr Choo Chiau Beng, Patron of Brahm Centre

Ms Chen Yew Nah, Chairperson of Brahm Centre

Ms Angie Chew, Executive Directors of Brahm Centre

Ms Jessica Tan, Member of Parliament

Distinguished Guests, Residents of Simei

Ladies and Gentlemen

1.         Good Morning. I am delighted to join you here today for the official opening of Brahm Centre at Simei.

Importance of Mental Health

2.         Mental health is an essential component of our overall health and well-being. It allows us to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives. Since 2012, under the Community Mental Health Masterplan, we have developed community programmes to better support persons with mental illness and empower their caregivers. The Masterplan includes initiatives to strengthen primary care for better access to mental health services, enhance outreach and post-treatment support, as well as expand care services for persons with dementia. We set up Community Resource, Engagement and Support Teams (or CREST for short) to reach out to persons with, or at-risk of, mental health conditions or dementia, as well as their caregivers. CREST teams provide information about mental health conditions, facilitate screening, and link individuals and caregivers to the relevant social and healthcare services.

Brahm Centre

3.         Partners like Brahm Centre play a critical role in building mental wellness in the community and supporting persons with mental illness as well as their caregivers. Since the opening of their first centre at Novena in 2012, Brahm Centre has impacted the lives of over 10,000 people through wellness talks and programmes which incorporate mental wellness. Brahm Centre also offers mindfulness courses to corporate and grassroots organisations as well as schools with the aim of improving both physical and mental health. Their signature Mindfulness Courses, supported by National Silver Academy and SkillsFuture, have been attended by over 5,000 people, young and old. They also offer elderly befriending services, and is a partner in creating a Dementia Friendly Community at Macpherson.

Brahm Centre @ Simei

4.         The Brahm Centre at Simei, which is also one of our CREST partners, opened its doors on 1 October 2017, and has since welcomed more than 700 individuals to its free health education programmes, counselling services, and mindfulness courses. I am encouraged to know that Brahm Centre at Simei will also be launching a new mindfulness course in January, one specially targeted for grandparents. This will certainly be a useful resource to support our intergenerational families in Singapore.

5.         Although Brahm Centre at Simei is relatively new, it has already changed lives. Mr Syed is one such beneficiary. He used to suffer from anxiety attacks, and once even had to go to an A&E department after a particularly severe attack. Mr Syed was referred by his doctor to Brahm Centre at Simei in the first week of its opening. After attending the mindfulness course and two counselling sessions, he is now able to manage his emotions better and has since not suffered from any major anxiety attacks. Apart from an improved self-esteem and outlook on life, his personal relationships have also improved. As MOH continues to develop programmes to promote mental wellness and outreach services in the community, our collaborations with partners such as Brahm Centre will be more important than ever. I would like to congratulate Brahm Centre on the opening of their second centre, and thank them for actively promoting happier and healthier living within the community.

6.         Another beneficiary is 65-year-old Ms Chiang, whose stress of caring for her husband was taking a toll on her. After attending the free weekly health talks at Brahm Centre @ Simei, she developed greater awareness of the importance of healthy living and learnt useful tips on how she could improve her health. Brahm Centre’s Mindfulness Foundation Course also helped her to understand the connection between mind and body, and trained her mind to stay more focused and present. She now feels better equipped to manage her emotions and in turn, more confident in coping with her husband’s condition. In fact, she is even planning to return to work!

CLOSING

7.         As MOH continues to develop programmes to promote mental wellness and outreach services in the community, our collaborations with partners such as Brahm Centre will be more important than ever. I would like to congratulate Brahm Centre on the opening of their second centre, and thank them for actively promoting happier and healthier living within the community.

8.         Thank you and have an enjoyable day ahead.

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