• - Plenary 6: Mental Health in the Community: There’s More Than Meets the Eye!
  • - Track 1: Empowerment & Recovery
  • - Track 2: Advances in Mental Health
  • - Track 3: Beyond Institution into Integrated Community Living
  • - Track 4: Hard Truths About Addictions
  • - Track 5: Integration between Mental Health & Physical Health
  • - Closing Plenary: The Art of Determination
Plenary 6: Mental Health in the Community: There’s More Than Meets the Eye!

The mainstreaming of mental health issues and individuals with mental health conditions into the community is the ultimate goal of every healthcare system in every nation. The contribution of every stakeholder is crucial. Only together, we can make the difference in mental health programmes, policies, and position. Together, we can enhance community capacity and capabilities development. The collaboration and cooperation of all sectors is important to ensure:
1. social integration and adaptation,
2. freedom from discrimination and violence,
3. access to economic resources, and
4. a life as near to normal as possible for those with mental illnesses.

With our healthcare agenda in Singapore, comes the National Mental Health Blueprint and Community Mental Health Masterplan. These are comprehensive frameworks as well as algorithms in charting and maintaining the mental health of our populace, as well as managing those with mental health issues in the community. How exactly does this work out on the ground and in reality? Which stakeholders and partners help to practicalise these frameworks into actionable deeds and steps? Where do discharged patients and their families seek support? Who can they talk to? Who can they confide in without being judged?

Prof Fatimah will share how she does it in her constituency, with positive results and outcomes. In her role as a Member of Parliament and also a mental health advocate, she has taken progressive and bold steps to carve out a niche for this very important area of our well-being.


Prof Fatimah Lateef, Senior Consultant, Dept of Emergency Medicine, Singapore General Hospital, and Professor in Emergency Medicine, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, NUS and Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School, and Member of Parliament, Marine Parade GRC
Track 1: Empowerment & Recovery

(S1 and 2): Empowered Individuals
How can service users contribute to mental health services, beyond being a recipient of services? How can we give them more say in the design of services?

This session will introduce the principles and frameworks that enable conference participants to better understand the roles service users and service providers can play in empowering individuals. Through workshopping and experiential learning, participants will engage in in-depth to better understand how service users can be involved in service development and implementation. This will be a session where participants will explore not just what to do, but how to do it.

Participants of this session should be involved in providing or developing and implementing services for persons with mental health conditions. They will be invited to brainstorm services that promote social inclusion, meaningful engagement activities and ways to maximise the potential of service users.

(S3): Empowered Families
Families often face multiple and complex challenges when caring for loved ones, and support can come from various sources. How can we better understand the roles that others in the ecosystem can play in supporting service users and their families?

This session seeks to share the perspectives of different players in the ecosystem and how everyone can work collectively towards building resilient, self-reliant and empowered families.

(S4): Empowered Communities
We often think of empowerment as empowerment of individuals or a selected group. But, communities can and should be empowered too.

Empowered communities are elements that form a caring and collaborative ecosystem. This session will explore the role of the wider community in the empowerment of persons in recovery by addressing stigma towards persons with mental health conditions. It will also showcase an example of an empowered community – a grounds-up group where a community of youths come together to help fellow youths with mental health conditions and drive change by working with different stakeholders in the ecosystem.

Track 2: Advances in Mental Health

With advances in mental health science, newer forms of treatment have emerged. One of them is treatment for mood disorders. This track discusses some of the new treatments such as neurostimulation techniques like ECT, rTMS, tDCS and Peripheral Nerve Stimulation for severe mood disorders. The track also includes a sharing on the services provided in the mood disorders unit at the Institute of Mental Health. This tertiary specialist unit provides inpatient, outpatient and peer services to support the holistic treatment of patients with severe mood disorders.

Track 3: Beyond Institution into Integrated Community Living

With a shared vision of keeping those who are well at home and supporting persons with mental illness within the community, this track showcases the collaborative impact of the partners within the community mental health ecosystem.

The speakers will share how the community is enabled and empowered through resilience-building activities such as the HAPPY programme, to how multiple agencies come together to co-create solutions for complex hoarding cases, and how specialised care teams support clients within the community and primary care.

S1: Community Takes The Lead
This opening session shines light on two specialised care teams, the Community Mental Health Intervention Team and the Health and Mind Clinic in Polyclinics. The two speakers will share their care models and explain their service scope, how clients are supported, and their role in keeping clients living well within the community.

This is followed by a panel with speakers from the Municipal Services Office and Montfort Care. The panel will share on supporting clients with hoarding needs through a whole-of-government approach, which includes addressing the health and safety aspects and also identifying the underlying causes.

S2: Building Communities of Care
Singaporeans are living longer due to advances in science and technology and this has led to discussions on how to maintain and improve the quality of life of seniors, especially those who are frail or have dementia. This session explores the relationship between physical frailty and cognitive impairment, and what healthcare and community partners do to improve seniors’ resilience in this area.

Professor Reshma from the National University Hospital will touch on the science of frailty and dementia, showing how they are interlinked, and share results from the HAPPY programme. Rev Irene Thung from the Methodist Church in Singapore will share how a holistic approach to ageing helps to secure good health and quality of life amongst members in the community.

Track 4: Hard Truths About Addictions

A personal sharing by a counsellor who successfully overcame his addiction will kick-start discussions in this track. Experts will discuss the latest trends and scientific updates in the field of addictions, with a focus on cyber-gaming, nicotine addiction and binge drinking. The link between childhood adversity and the development of addictions; and as well as building resilience while managing addictions, is another area this track will explore. This will be followed by a round table discussion with speakers fielding questions from the audience.

Track 5: Integration between Mental Health & Physical Health

Mental health and physical health are closely intertwined. Professionals in health care and public health would do well in approaching the health of an individual in a holistic manner, instead of focusing only on presenting issues. In this track, we will explore the relationship between the mental and the physical health in both prevention and recovery.

Mental Health Amazing Race Activity
Get off your seats and join us for a mini amazing race! Participants of this track will visit five game stations to learn more about how the Health Promotion Board (HPB) integrates mental and physical health into our programmes and initiatives. Participants are advised to wear comfortable clothes for this track. Activities will be age friendly.

Closing Plenary: The Art of Determination

At 24 years old, Dr Darren Chua thought he had it all figured out. He was a a qualified medical doctor, and about to start an internship embarking on an illustrious career as a neurosurgeon.

A drastic turn of events took him from being a qualified medical doctor to a patient after a fatal stroke. It left him bedridden, unable to speak and, ultimately, re-evaluating his life. At rock bottom with his life torn apart, he had one choice: to be a prisoner of his body or a prisoner of hope. Darren chose hope. He has committed his life to the journey of hope and helping others find the same.

Success is determined and predictable. But so is failure. What set the two apart are our mindset and subsequent code of beliefs and conduct.

Today, Darren is an inspirational speaker, empowerment coach, ASEAN Para Games medalist, Young Outstanding Singaporean Award and Successful Entrepreneur Award recipient, and an education and health ambassador.


Dr Darren Chua, Chief Empowerment Officer, Mindset Transformational Clinic