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The notion of health as a social construct, and the argument for the inclusion of mental wellness in the multi-dimensional framework that details holistic wellbeing will be discussed. As we become more cognisant of the importance of mental health, we should also take note of the implications of the medicalisation process. This presentation will discuss three important aspects of the medicalisation of mental illness.
First, an overview of how far we have advanced in understanding the social and environmental triggers for mental illness. Has medicalisation mainstreamed sufficiently expert contributions from a multi-disciplinary platform? What are some of the challenges we face as we strive to address the information gaps?
Second, we take a critical look at the implications of medicalisation and social stigmatisation of mental illness. Finally, we highlight the social structural factors that may stand in the way of creating a safe environment for those afflicted to step forward and receive support and treatment.
Brief background will be provided on two measures that were developed with the World Health Organization (WHO). The first is the World Health Organization Quality of Life, the WHOQOL. Information will be provided about the development of an add-on module for the WHOQOL for use with older adults, the so-called WHOQOL-OLD.
The second measure to be described that was also developed with the WHO is the Attitudes to Ageing Questionnaire, the AAQ. The AAQ was developed across a diverse set of cultures simultaneously and includes both positive and negative attitudes towards ageing. Attitudes associated with ageing well will be described.
Preliminary data will be presented from a national survey of a representative sample of older adults in Singapore, who completed the WHOQOL and the WHOQOL-OLD amongst other information. Studies will also be described in which the AAQ can be used to identify vulnerable older adults and an intervention targeted at negative attitudes towards ageing.
MOTION: THE NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF SOCIAL MEDIA ON MENTAL HEALTH OUTWEIGHS THE POSITIVES
Social media is everywhere today. It is inescapable, and its impact profound. It has the power to shape people’s views and perceptions on issues and personalities, and influences opinions in various ways.
But what impact has social media had in the sphere of mental health? How has it influenced people’s views on mental health issues and persons suffering from mental illnesses? Has it been a boon or bane in our attempts to raise mental health awareness and de-stigmatise mental illness? Has social media made it easier to circulate sensational mental health stories or has it made it easier for people to obtain information and seek support?
We are pleased and honoured to have the following tertiary institutions debating this motion:
Proposition: Mental Health Wing, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, National University of Singapore
Opposition: Mrs Wong Kwok Leong Student Wellness Centre, Singapore Management University
Moderator: Dr Lambert Low, Consultant Psychiatrist, National Addictions Management Service (NAMS), Institute of Mental Health, Singapore
Delegates will be given an opportunity to submit questions for discussion during the debate via a mobile interactive app, and the winning team will be decided by the delegates themselves via this same platform. Attendees can expect an engaging, fun and informative session.
Mental Health Wing, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, National University of Singapore
The Mental Health Wing (MHW) was founded in 2014 with the vision to achieve mental wellness for all students in the National University of Singapore (NUS). It aims to create an environment within NUS where honest, open, and empowering dialogue surrounding mental illness/wellness can happen.
In doing so, the Wing aims to encourage persons suffering in silence from poor mental health to seek help, engage students in recovery, and create informal platforms where empathetic social support can be developed amongst peers. In its efforts to reduce stigma, the Mental Health Wing also ran a year-long campaign titled, “Better Understanding for Better Wellness” (BUBW) in 2016. In 2017, the BUBW campaign evolved to focus more on engaging and empowering students in recovery and equipping peers with skills to spot and support friends in need. As students come together to support one another as one community, the Wing believes that there can be better mental wellness for all in NUS.
Speakers: Mr Khoo Yi Feng, Ms Ang Qiuluan, Ms Jean Chia, Ms Abigail Seng, Mr Marcus Ng
Mrs Wong Kwok Leong Student Wellness Centre, Singapore Management University
SMU Peer Helpers are full time undergraduates students trained in helping skills who work closely with the professional counsellors at the Mrs Wong Kwok Leong Student Wellness Centre. They provide a listening ear and emotional support for their peers during times of need. Due to their frequent interactions with their friends, peer helpers are particularly effective in acting as “eyes and ears” on the ground. Although they are not professional counsellors, they act as a bridge which connects the Centre with the larger SMU community.
Speakers: Mr Zakrie Bin Abdul Manap, Mr Brian Ho Rui Lin, Mr Ashley Tay Wee Kiat, Ms Tan Jing Yee, Ms Ada Chung Yee Lin
The role of the Peer Support Specialists (PSS) has in the past, often been overlooked and under-utilised. However, the peer support movement has gained much momentum in recent years as PSS are increasingly being engaged and involved in the recovery journey of persons with mental health issues. Having gone through the recovery process themselves, PSS are able to relate to the patients, and provide much needed support and guidance to them in their recovery. PSS are beginning to receive recognition and acknowledgement for the work they do. It is essential that suitable persons in recovery be adequately trained to equip them with core competencies to fulfil their roles as PSS. As such, IMH and NCSS have jointly developed a formal and structured training programme and together with social service organisations, work towards creating an inclusive and supportive work environment towards the peer support workforce.
This session will leverage on the experiences of Peer Support Specialists as they share their personal journeys on their roles in helping others through their recovery, how they too have benefitted from this programme, learning points and what more can be done to further the peer support movement in Singapore.
Ms Lim Lay Keow, Case Manager, Early Psychosis Intervention Programme (EPIP), Institute of Mental Health, Singapore
Ms Emmeline Lim, Manager, Mental Health Services, Service Planning & Development Group, National Council of Social Service, Singapore
Mr Ranjit Singh, Counsellor, National Addictions Management Service (NAMS), Institute of Mental Health, Singapore
Mr William Teo, Senior Counsellor, National Addictions Management Service (NAMS), Institute of Mental Health, Singapore
Ms Lee Ying Ying, Peer Support Specialist, Early Psychosis Intervention Program (EPIP), Institute of Mental Health, Singapore
Are you caregiving for a loved one suffering from a health condition? If yes, you are not alone. Years ago, there were few voices talking about the issue of caregiving. Today, there is a significant number of people talking and sharing about their caregiving journey in part due to an increasing prevalence of debilitating chronic conditions.
Caregiving is usually associated with stress, fatigue and frustration. However, there are positive aspects to caregiving as well which are often overlooked. Many caregivers reported positive experiences from caregiving, including a sense of giving back to someone who has cared for them, the satisfaction of knowing that their loved one is getting excellent care, personal growth as well as an increased meaning and purpose in one’s life. Some caregivers feel that they are passing on a tradition of care and that by serving as a role model, their children will be more likely to care for them, if necessary.
This track aims to highlight the caregivers’ positive experiences in their personal journeys in caring for persons with mental health issues as well as provide insight on how caregivers can tap on their own strengths, coping skills (self-care) and their roles in the rehabilitation or recovery of their loved ones.
Mrs Juliana Toh, Clinical Director, Counselling and Care Centre, Singapore
Ms Anita Ho, Assistant Director, AWWA, Singapore
Primary care is one of the current focal points of healthcare in Singapore. This emphasis draws from the pivotal role in which primary care physicians play in supporting their patients’ care needs, both in the physical and mental health aspects. This is made possible by the close relationships these physicians foster with their patients over the years.
Due to the increasing prevalence of mental health conditions, there is a dire need for a comprehensive mental health support system in the community. This led to a gradual and progressive development of the mental health sector within the primary care landscape over the past 10 years. The availability of allied health support has increased to complement such clinical care in addition to the expansion of the quality and accessibility of care rendered by primary care physicians.
This track features three speakers who have contributed to this cause and incorporated mental health as one of their clinical care components. In addition, this segment showcases a first-hand perspective of a primary care physician as he recounts his journey alongside his patients with mental health needs and shares his vision of the future primary care arena.
Ms Colyn Chua, Programme Manager, MINDSET Care Limited, Singapore
Dr Alvin Lum, Family Physician, Shenton Family Medical Clinic (Bukit Gombak), Singapore
Mr Pathma Thanapallam, Senior Case Worker, Singapore Association for Mental Health
Dr Winnie Soon, Consultant Family Physician, National Healthcare Group Polyclinics, Singapore
Our physical and mental wellbeing are intimately linked, and positive enhancements in either affects the other. Thus, it is beneficial for us to view our mind and body as one to promote holistic wellbeing. This session provides a general overview of the relationship between physical and mental wellbeing, and explores how sports, nature and sleep can contribute to improvements in both mental and physical wellbeing.
Ms Tracey Veivers, Head (Sport Psychology) and Senior Sport Psychologist, Singapore Sports Institute
Mr Yeo Meng Tong, Senior Director, Design Research & Development Division, National Parks Board, Singapore
Dr Tan Sheng Neng, Director, Consultation Liaison Psychiatry Service, Department of Psychological Medicine, Changi General Hospital, Singapore
Poor mental health may lead to poorer physical health. Conversely, chronic physical conditions put a person at greater risk of developing poor mental health. Hence, it is important to develop strategies that take a comprehensive approach in managing both aspects of an individual. This session will showcase the relationship between mental health and physical health conditions and chronic disease, and will feature mindfulness-based techniques as a useful tool.
A/Prof Shen Biing-Jiun, Associate Professor, Psychology, School of Social Science, College of Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Adj A/Prof Daniel Fung, Chairman, Medical Board, Institute of Mental Health, Singapore
Ms Angie Chew, Principal Mindfulness Trainer, Brahm Centre, Singapore
Lessons from a farmer about purpose and resilience; Listening so as to shape our hearts and minds to empower others as we teach, volunteer, serve and reflect.
While on a trip to visit a patient up in the highlands in NuJiang Prefecture (Yunnan, China), Dr Tan’s team came across a Lisu farmer who was tending to his corn field. To each corn sapling, he made a twist of reeds and encircled the corn. It was back breaking work. Dr Tan asked him why he did that, and to every plant too. He replied, “That will stop the rats from eating the plant.”
Will that work? Dr Tan had to stop in the middle of the steep mountain slope and through a translator, asked the farmer, “Does it work?”
Dr Tan will draw from his experiences of working in the remote villages of Yunnan China, reflecting on how we need to be good listeners in order to be good healthcare resource professionals – to provide care as well as to empower those that we care for.