Singapore Mental Health Conference 2017


This year’s Singapore Mental Health Conference (SMHC) attracted over 500 professionals from the healthcare, social service, and Community Care sectors, as well as community-based workers and consumers of mental health services. Beyond covering mental well-being across one’s lifespan and how best to deliver mental healthcare support across different settings, our General Practitioners (GPs) were also treated to an exclusive segment which showcased the ongoing efforts to strengthen our primary care sector.

The areas featured were:
1. Development of an Integrated Primary Care Network 
The relevance and importance of General Practitioners lies in the fact that they are usually the first point of contact and have a strong potential for intervention. The accessibility of services in the primary care setting also reduces the stigma of receiving treatment. With an integrated primary care network, patients can be well supported in the community for both their physical & mental health conditions. The outcomes include a steady pool of GPs and also multi-disciplinary teams in the polyclinics to support those presenting to be with mental health concerns. 

2. Support to help patients with mental health needs 
Primary care doctors like Dr Alvin Lum, Mental Health GP Partner, and Dr Winnie Soon (Family Physician at NHG Polyclinic) have been well supported through the trainings provided, enabling them to better care for patients with mental health needs. Likewise, their patients have also benefitted from timely intervention and allied health support which complements the clinical care received. Such holistic care enables a patient to be maintained well in the community. 

3. Enhancing mental health care services 
Moving forth, there are more efforts to strengthen the network and quality of care for those with mental health needs. This includes the provision of mental health care services by more polyclinics and GPs, enhancement of training opportunities to deepen their skills and knowledge and also importantly, to streamline a patients’ care especially in cases when they need to be managed by multiple providers. 

Health encompasses an individual’s biological, social and psychological being and cannot be viewed as a singular component. It takes a collaborative effort by various professionals to effectively manage mental health needs.

The diagram below depicts the collaboration amongst various services supporting those with mental health needs in the primary care setting.


To start, we urge you to be involved in the care of your patients’ mental wellbeing. All it takes is a simple assessment of their mental health needs. For more information of the resources available for your patients with mental health needs, email
Never give up on someone with a mental illness. When I is replaced by We, illness becomes wellness. Shannon L. Alder 

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