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05 Oct 2020

5th Oct 2020

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament
Mr Melvin Yong Yik Chye
MP for Radin Mas

Question No. 63

To ask the Minister for Health (a) what is the number of people who have called the National CARE Hotline since the COVID-19 pandemic started; (b) what is the percentage of repeat callers; and (c) whether there are any plans to better support residents who are facing mental resilience issues in this prolonged fight against COVID-19.

Answer

1        The National CARE Hotline (NCH) has managed over 30,000 calls since it commenced on 10 April 2020.  Of these, over 12,000 calls required mental health support, and were handled by Duty CARE Officers (DCOs).  The DCOs are trained to provide mental health first aid and make the appropriate referrals either to public healthcare institutions or community service providers to follow up if necessary.  The remaining calls were regarding other needs such as finance and employment issues and were directed to the appropriate hotlines.  As individuals’ mobile numbers are not tracked,  the NCH does not have information on the number of  repeat callers.

2        The COVID-19 pandemic has generated increased stresses for individuals in Singapore.  To help individuals build resilience to cope with this crisis, the Health Promotion Board (HPB) created “Stay Well to Stay Strong”, a one-stop resource hub at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.  This resource hub provides individuals of all ages with useful tips and ideas on how they can maintain a healthy lifestyle and stay mentally well.  In addition to exercise videos and healthier meal recipes, the portal also provides articles, infographics and tools to help individuals manage their stress and emotions, as well as maintain a positive outlook.  Since its launch in February, the resource hub has reached out to over 450,000 users and has garnered over 700,000 page visits, as of 21 September 2020.

3         HPB and the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth have also recently launched the “Brave the New” campaign in August.  The campaign seeks to build psychological resilience among Singaporeans, by equipping them with skills to cope with challenging situations, and encouraging those who need additional support to seek help.  As part of the campaign, Singaporeans can access information on how to care for themselves as well as others around them through the “Brave the New” website.   

4        Access to subsidised mental health services in the public healthcare institutions, polyclinics, and the Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS) General Practitioners is available to those who require more support for their mental health needs.