Nearly 7,000 distressed Singaporeans have called into a 24-hour hotline created for those in need of help during its first two weeks.
Callers to the volunteer-staffed National Care Hotline have mostly sought emotional support and help with financial concerns and marital difficulties, while the rest expressed fears about the spread of COVID-19, their health, and the future.
“We are grateful to the estimated 500 National Care Hotline volunteers who have so eagerly stepped forward to be there for those among us who may feel downcast or distressed,” Singapore politician Desmond Lee wrote online this morning, adding that they had helped more than 6,600 callers.
He included a photo of volunteers from the Singapore Muslim Women’s Association, aka Persatuan Pemudi Islam Singapura, who are among the 500 volunteers lending an ear to distressed hotline callers.
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More than 6,600 people have called the National CARE Hotline to seek help since we…
Lee’s shout out came a day after the Health Ministry designated various health services including mental heath, podiatry and social work as essential services. It was a reversal of its decision earlier this month to classify mental health services as nonessential, which prompted complaints from the public and a prominent activist.
Lee also encouraged the younger generation to speak to trained professionals if they are facing difficulties.
“Many of our youth and young adults are understandably anxious about their future. While many are speaking to their peers online, I encourage our young friends who still feel overwhelmed to speak to a trained counsellor, who can help you to process your feelings and give you practical and healthy coping tips,” he added.
Lee ended his post by stressing the importance of emotional health and called upon others to not be ashamed for getting necessary help from others.
“Taking care of our mental and emotional health is key to us emerging stronger from this crisis. Let’s encourage our family members and friends whom we know are feeling down or distressed to pick up the phone and dial in to the National CARE Hotline, or our other community helplines,” he said.
If you or someone you know needs help for mental health-related issues, there are several hotline services available.
National CARE Hotline: 1800-202-6868
Fei Yue’s Online Counselling Service: eC2.sg
Institute of Mental Health’s Mental Health Helpline: 6389-2222
Samaritans of Singapore (24-hour): 1800-221-4444
Big Love Child Protection Specialist Centre: 6445-0400
Singapore Association for Mental Health: 1800-283-7019
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