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MindSG

Explore our suite of self-care tools and resources to help you better understand and manage your mental health.

It's OKAY to
reach out

With the daily demands of our lives, we may sometimes feel stressed, worried, or even sad. It is common to feel this way and we are not alone in experiencing them. When things start to feel overwhelming, it’s okay to reach out for support.


Understanding
what it means
to reach out

Connecting with others

Connecting with others

Reaching out can mean connecting with someone we trust. It can be a friend, a loved one, a counsellor or even a healthcare professional. When we talk about our thoughts and feelings with someone else, we often realise we are not alone.

Seeking out tips for self-care

Seeking out tips for self-care

There may be times when we prefer to manage on our own. These resources on self-care and coping skills can help us. If we are not sure when to reach out for support, we can always do a self-check-in – read more about checking in with ourselves here.

Supporting others

Supporting others

We also play an important role in supporting others, such as our fellow peers. Pick up conversation tips that can help us support them with empathy and care.

Misconceptions about reaching out

We may be hesitant to reach out for support due to some misconceptions that may be holding us back from seeking the support we need.

What is dementia
But did you know?
Asking for support is a sign of courage because it shows that we are taking control of our life.
There is nothing wrong with seeking support, it’s just like consulting a doctor when we feel physically unwell.
In addition, people are often willing to support us when we share with them our stressors or how we feel.
Reaching out for support shows that I am weak.
But did you know?
When we are forthcoming in sharing our needs and letting others know what we seek – be it an empathetic ear, a good laugh or even just company, we might get the support we hope for.
To avoid being frustrated or helpless, we can take charge of how we would like our conversations to progress (e.g. by sharing that we do not need them to offer solutions to our problem). Learn more here.
There is no point in reaching out as I know I will not get the support I need.
But did you know?
It is normal to be overwhelmed and confused as to which services and help avenues to reach out to. After all, there are so many.
We can try using this tool to help find the support required (e.g. services and financial schemes available).
If we have concerns about visiting a mental healthcare provider alone, we could invite a close friend or family member for company.
Typically, at the first visit, the mental healthcare provider may ask some general questions (e.g. what issues we are facing and how they are affecting us). We should try to be honest to allow them to better understand our situation.
Keep in mind that we need not feel pressured to reveal everything if we are not ready.
It is difficult to navigate the different avenues of support to find what is suitable for me.

Why is it
important to reach out for support?

There are different ways we can reach out. We can read up on self-care tips, text a loved one, healthcare professional, or lend a helping hand to others.

Whatever method we choose, reaching out for support can help us in the following ways:

Why is it important to reach out for support?

What are the common signs that we should be reaching out for support?

When we feel that we are experiencing mood swings

When we feel that we are experiencing mood swings

When we start having negative thoughts

When we start having negative thoughts

When we feel that we are going through changes in our behaviour

When we feel that we are going through changes in our behaviour

When we feel that our physical health is starting to get affected

When we feel that our physical health is starting to get affected

How can we reach out for support? How can we reach out for support?

How can we reach
out for support?

It can be difficult to talk about our struggles and feelings when we are feeling overwhelmed. Know that we are not alone and there is help and support available, including confidential avenues if we need a safe space to speak to someone.

We could ask ourselves who we feel most comfortable to share our struggles with. This is someone we would feel most comfortable talking to.

They can be a family member, a friend, or a healthcare professional.

Start with something like:

“Hey, there’s something I’d like to talk with you about. It’s kind of important to me and I’m wondering if you could make some time.”

Decide who to reach out to

Sometimes we may simply want a listening ear. At other times, we might need emotional support, or practical help instead. It’s okay if we don’t know, but it helps to think about what we would like to achieve.

We can try to:

Pen down what we want to share to help us direct our focus towards finding the outcome we want.

Consider the outcome that we want

Choosing an environment that we feel comfortable in can help us feel more relaxed, making it easier to open up.

We can also schedule a time so that we can have an uninterrupted conversation.

Try saying:

“I’m wondering if you have a few minutes for us to talk today.

“Is there a good time that I could call you this evening?

Choose an appropriate place and time

We don’t have to share about every feeling we have but observing our emotions, acknowledging them, and identifying why we feel them is healthy and a good practice.

If we are not ready to talk yet, we could write down what we are feeling through text or email to someone whom we feel comfortable with.

Try saying:

“I’m not feeling like my usual self.”

“I’m having thoughts that are troubling me.”

Acknowledge our feelings

It’s alright not to know why we feel a certain way.

Once we accept what we feel, we can be more candid with ourselves in understanding our emotions.

During the conversation, it might take us a few tries to express what we feel or need.

The first step is the hardest – commend ourselves for the effort.

We can try to:

Express what we are feeling even if we are unable to fully explain the reason why we’re feeling that way (e.g. “I feel angry, but I don’t know why.”)

Accept what we don’t know

Sometimes, others may not know what we need from them. It can be good to be direct about our needs, so the other person can better understand how to try and help us.

Clarify our needs by saying:

“I just need a listening ear.”

“I would like to hear your opinion or suggestion.”

“I am feeling down, I need your company.”

“Can you help me?”

Try to communicate our needs

Sometimes, the person we’re speaking to may not respond in a manner we hoped they would. They may have the best of intentions but may not know how to provide us with the comfort we need.

It’s important not to let their reaction or response discourage us.

We can try to:

Identify another person who can respond to our needs.

Expect different reactions

Opening ourselves up is a brave and strong act. Be proud that we’ve taken the first step to reach out.

After the conversation, we could also reach out to our supporters to thank them for their time and let them know how important the conversation was to us.

This gives them an opportunity to continue the dialogue with us going forward.

Try saying:

“Thank you for taking the time to speak with me the other day. It really was important for me to let you know how I was feeling.”

Be thankful to ourselves and our supporter

The journey to reaching out may not always be easy.

No matter how big our problem is, don’t give up in getting the support we need, because it can get better over time.

We can try to:

Continue to practise self-care to keep us going

Don’t give up

Our support system could be made up of a close friend, a family member or a healthcare professional.

We can try to:

Stay connected to a group of people we can turn to when we need support.

Continue to build our support system

How can we reach out to support those around us?

Support works both ways. At times, we may need the support of others. At other times, we may become someone else’s pillar of support instead. It is therefore important for us to also learn how to support the people around us and those we care for.

Helping someone need not be a daunting task. There are simple things that we can say or do to help them feel better.

Here are some key tips:

Ask ourselves if we are ready or in the right mind space to provide them the support they need.

Ask ourselves if we are ready or in the right mind space to provide them the support they need.

Check in on someone if we feel something is not quite right (e.g. if they seem moody, worried or withdrawn).

Check in on someone if we feel something is not quite right (e.g. if they seem moody, worried or withdrawn).

During the conversation, provide them with a listening ear. This means holding back on giving advice and solutions. Instead, give them the space to express how they feel.

During the conversation, provide them with a listening ear. This means holding back on giving advice and solutions. Instead, give them the space to express how they feel.

Be empathetic – we could try to refrain from imposing our views on what they should do, as it may make them feel unvalued and misunderstood. Instead of saying, “If I were you, I would do this…”, try saying, “I understand this must be tough on you…”

Be empathetic – we could try to refrain from imposing our views on what they should do, as it may make them feel unvalued and misunderstood.

Instead of saying, “If I were you, I would do this…”, try saying, “I understand this must be tough on you…

Remember to stay in touch and check in on them, to try to understand what kind of help they need.

Remember to stay in touch and check in on them, to try to understand what kind of help they need.

For more tips and tools, check out
Hi #JustCheckingIn to help us start and navigate these conversations with empathy and care.

Mental healthcare
professionals who can
provide support

There are different types of mental healthcare professionals we can reach out to for support.

Types of mental health providers

Counsellors

They provide counselling and help clients develop coping skills, guide them on how to access resources, and tap on support services for multifaceted issues.

If needed, they will also talk to family members or caregivers to better support the clients.

A counsellor may also plan and implement assistance programmes for their clients.

Social Workers
(e.g. Family Service Centres)

They assist clients and families to recognise social reasons for mental distress and support them through therapies, and assist low-income and/or vulnerable clients and families with financial assessment.

They also partner other agencies to assist clients with all their other needs.

General Practitioners (GPs)

They diagnose and work alongside other mental health professionals to manage clients with mental health and physical health conditions.

They also refer high risk clients to other medical, psychiatry and allied health services when required to help better manage conditions.

Nurses in primary care settings (Polyclinics & GP clinics)

They provide information to clients and caregivers on the illness process and the treatment of illnesses. This information includes emotional and motivational support that can help clients better cope with their illness and improve treatment.

They also work with clients to identify concerns and barriers to problem solving and provide tips, skillsets and/or supportive counselling.

Clinical psychologists

They provide psychological assessments and diagnosis for various mental health conditions (e.g. depression, anxiety). They can also treat conditions with various psychological interventions.

They provide a safe space for patients to effectively address their mental health conditions and offer guidance and coping skills. They may make a referral to a psychiatrist if they deem that medical treatment is needed.

Psychiatrists

Like clinical psychologists, psychiatrists are also mental health specialists who diagnose mental health conditions and manage treatment. A key difference is that psychiatrists can prescribe medication as they are medical doctors, while clinical psychologists cannot.

Psychiatrists may also make referrals to a psychologist for psychological interventions.

Seek mental health resources & services

Not sure where to seek support? Trying the tools below can help us find suitable mental health resources or tools for our needs.

Mental health services are provided by General Practitioners, Polyclinics and Social Service Agencies near you. Find the services you need here.

References

MindSG
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