Explore our suite of self-care tools and resources to help you better understand and manage your mental health.
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.Inspired by real events, here are stories of everyday youth taking the first step to reach out for support. Listen now.
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.
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.
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.
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 we may think:
Reaching out for support shows that I am weak.
There is no point in reaching out as I know I will not get the support I need.
It is difficult to navigate the different avenues of support to find what is suitable for me.
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:
When we are going through a tough time, reaching out to someone, or getting new information and knowledge, can give us a different perspective or new insights.
Reaching out and talking to others can help us relieve pent-up frustrations or worries. Talking to someone we trust can help us sort out our feelings and make us feel better.
There may be times when our problems could feel too much for us to handle on our own. But we are not alone. There are many people around us who can support us.Sometimes, we just need to reach out in order for them to know how to support us. Feeling a sense of belonging and connectedness to others during difficult times can be a great comfort.
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.
Decide who to reach out to
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.”
Consider the outcome that we want
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.
Choose an appropriate place and time
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.
“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?”
Acknowledge our feelings
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.
“I’m not feeling like my usual self.”“I’m having thoughts that are troubling me.”
Accept what we don’t know
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.
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.”)
Try to communicate our needs
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?”
Expect different reactions
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.
Identify another person who can respond to our needs.
Be thankful to ourselves and our supporter
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.
“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.”
Don’t give up
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.
Continue to practise self-care to keep us going
Continue to build our support system
Our support system could be made up of a close friend, a family member or a healthcare professional.
Stay connected to a group of people we can turn to when we need support.
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.
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.
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.
For more tips and tools, check out Hi #JustCheckingIn to help us start and navigate these conversations with empathy and care.
There are different types of mental healthcare professionals we can reach out to for support.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Not sure where to seek support? Trying the tools below can help us find suitable mental health resources or tools for our needs.
Samaritans of Singapore
24-hour chatbox function
Institute of Mental Health
Try this financial assistance self-assessment tool to find out which financial assistance schemes you may qualify for.
Samaritans of Singapore
24-hour chatbox function Care Text
Institute of Mental Health
School counsellors can help students learn strategies to manage their emotions and cope with stressful situations. This enables them to make good choices for positive change and development. If you are a student, don’t be afraid to approach your teacher if you wish to get support from a school counsellor.
Provides free, personalised and confidential mental health checks* and/or referrals to professionals, if necessary, for youth aged 16-30. Call: 6493-6500 / 6493-6501Email: email@example.comOperating hours:Tue – Sat, 12pm – 9pmClosed on Mon, Sun and Public Holidays
*This is not a counselling session. It is a chat to understand your mental health concerns and recommend suitable professional help.
Other Mental Health Services (for everyone)
Mental health services are provided by General Practitioners, Polyclinics and Social Service Agencies near you. Find the service you need here: List of Services
Mental Health Services for Everyone
Mental health services are provided by General Practitioners, Polyclinics and Social Service Agencies near you. Find the service you need here. List of Services
CREST provides information on mental health conditions and dementia, conducts screening to identify whether you are at risk of having a mental health condition, offers emotional support to individuals and links individuals to relevant health and social care services when necessary.
COMIT provides assessment, counselling, therapy, and support to individuals. It also provides caregivers with access to support groups.
You may also choose to visit your nearest GP or polyclinic for professional consultation, diagnosis, and treatment for mental health.
The CDMP covers dementia and mental health conditions such as anxiety, bipolar disorder, major depression and schizophrenia. You can use Medisave for CDMP to help pay part of the outpatient cost.
MediSave for Inpatient Psychiatric Episodes
Up to $150 a day for daily hospital charges, subject to a maximum of $5,000 a year
MediSave for Outpatient Treatments of 20 conditions under CDMP
Up to $500 per MediSave account a year, subject to 15% co-payment by patient.
MediShield Life Inpatient Psychiatric
Up to $100 per day for up to 35 days per policy year.
To cover some of the cost for the treatment of chronic conditions including mental health conditions (such as Bipolar Disorder, Dementia, Major Depression, Schizophrenia), all CHAS, Merdeka Generation (MG) and Pioneer Generation (PG) cardholders can receive subsidies for select conditions at their nearest CHAS GP clinic. Please refer to this table for the amount of subsidy patients can get according to their CHAS tier. Visit here for more information about CHAS.
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