Reaching New Heights with Collaboration on Mental Health Training

The COVID-19 pandemic reinforced the importance of mental health and well-being. Over the past few years, mental health and well-being have gained greater traction in Singapore. 

To build community resilience in Singapore through mental health and well-being, the Singapore Red Cross Academy (SRCA) launched its Psychological First Aid programme in 2016 and established its Centre for Psychosocial Support (CPSS). The latter is a centre dedicated to training people in Psychological First Aid (basic and advanced), Workplace Mental Health, Well-being First Responders, Befriender training and Supportive communication. Such courses promote and maintain the individuals' mental well-being while curtailing the development of mental health conditions. Individuals trained in such courses can assist healthy individuals in coping well, with minimal symptoms of health conditions.

The training provided at CPSS operates at Tier 1 'Mental Well-being Promotion' of the Tiered Care Model for Mental Health Care Delivery. This is part of Singapore’s National Mental Health and Well-being Strategy developed by the Inter-agency Taskforce on Mental Health and Well-being.

As a champion of mental health, CPSS is committed to raising awareness of suicide prevention and the advocacy of mental well-being. To equip Psychological First Aiders with the knowledge and skill sets to assist individuals with suicide ideation, the Singapore Red Cross inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Samaritans of Singapore (SOS) to launch the new Psychological First Aid and Be A Samaritan (PFA+BAS) programme on 28 May. 

Tiers of the Model

Leveraging the synergies and strengths of both SRC's CPSS and SOS, the PFA+BAS programme bolsters the response capability of CPSS employees and trainers by equipping them with suicide intervention skills and knowledge. The comprehensive programme incorporates mental health needs detection, counselling, stress and anxiety management, social skills training, and behaviour management. Individuals trained in PFA+BAS can identify symptoms of mental health conditions, offer emotional support and help individuals with suicidal ideation to amplify their coping mechanisms. 

The PFA+BAS programme operates at Tier 2 'Low-Intensity Services', which staves off the escalation of their symptoms, facilitates coping and paves the way for the person to seek further assistance.

The partnership between the SRC and SOS exemplifies both organisations' commitment to augmenting the capabilities and resilience of Singapore in addressing mental health challenges while enhancing the mental health and well-being of the community. 

* Based on a study by Statisa.