Reliance on digital technology has fuelled concerns among parents, educators, governments and young people themselves that digital technologies and social media are exacerbating feelings of anxiety and depression, and contributing to mental health problems among youth. Yet, technology and digital platforms hold promise for providing help and digital health interventions specifically designed to support children and young people’s mental health.

Organised by Temasek Foundation, in partnership with KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital and Campus PSY, today’s Temasek Shophouse Conversations is titled ‘Youth Mental Health: Opportunities and Challenges in a Digital World’ and is focused on the role and impact of digital technology in youth mental health.

Attended by more than 600 participants at Temasek Shophouse as well as online, the hybrid event aimed to foster a discourse surrounding mental health among youth, and explored ways to improve support and access for communities at risk through innovative solutions. It brought together representatives from the public, private, and community sectors, such as policymakers, healthcare experts, academics and community practitioners as well as youths, to discuss multi-sector collaboration and propel actions to address societal challenges to achieve common good, in the region and globally.

In the keynote speech by Dr Tan See Leng, Minister for Manpower and Second Minister for Trade and Industry, he emphasised, “Each and every individual in the community has a part to play. We can start by showing empathy in our day-to-day interactions with others, such as by understanding that the issues faced by our youths are real, listen to their needs and giving support to them.”

Ms Sun Xueling, Minister of State for Social and Family Development, and Education, who was a panellist on the discussion session on “Beyond Awareness: Greater Mental Health Support for Youths” specially curated by community leader Cho Ming Xiu, highlighted national efforts to achieve mental health and well-being for all, including youths.

Please refer to Annex A for the full list of discussion sessions and panellists.

Innovative Programmes to support youths’ mental health

The event concluded with the following three calls for youths to be involved in maintaining the mental and emotional health for themselves and their peers. Youths who are interested to participate or join in the calls to action may register at https://www.philanthropyxchange.sg/tsc/others/tsc4cta/ .

  1. Campus PSY Ambassador Programme
    Volunteers undergo a two-week online training programme in basic mental health literacy, peer support skills, suicide response, self-care strategies and trauma-informed care. Upon completion of the training, they will be certified as Campus PSY Ambassadors and will be able to provide basic emotional support to distressed youths through Campus PSY’s one-stop “By Youths, For Youths” Ecosystem Peer Support for Youths (E-PSY) service, consisting of text-based, email and video conferencing platforms.
  2. KKH Youth Connect Programme
    The Youth Connect programme aims to produce a set of resources to support and help young persons (10-18 years old) with common life challenges. Through online and/or in-person focus group discussions, volunteers contribute insights that can help KKH craft resources which are engaging and helpful for youths facing difficulties with life challenges or mental health issues.
  3. SOS #ChatSafe Programme
    The #ChatSafe programme equips volunteers with the relevant skills and knowledge to engage positively with suicide-related online content as well as manage one's own mental health, while reaching out and supporting those in distress around them.

Representing Temasek Foundation in giving the welcome remarks, Mr Benedict Cheong said, “Even before the pandemic, youth mental health was already an area of growing concern in our communities. We hope that today’s dialogue will lead to greater understanding and collaborative action in the important area of youth mental health. By continuing the conversations beyond today and by sharing our learnings and experiences, research, and expertise, we can all play a part in enhancing the resilience of our future generation.”

Annex A

KenticoRouterPage Index