In this podcast episode, Dr. Tan Bee Wan, the Executive Chairman of Integrative Learning Corporation, discusses the topic of mental well-being in Singapore. She introduces her guest, Anthea Ong, a social advocate and writer, who has been actively involved in mental well-being initiatives in the country. The conversation highlights the importance of addressing mental health challenges, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic, as suicide rates have increased.
Anthea emphasizes the need for breakthrough interventions, rather than just improved or new programs. She believes that breakthroughs require examining beliefs, norms, and assumptions that hinder innovative and sustainable solutions.
The conversation focuses on the mental health landscape in Singapore and its impact on individuals, the workforce, and the society as a whole.
They discuss the spike in mental health issues, particularly among the youth and the elderly, and the need for a proactive approach to mental well-being. Anthea suggests starting with young people by incorporating mindfulness training into school physical education classes. This approach aims to provide students with tools to better manage their mental well-being and emotions.
The conversation also touches on the role of parents in contributing to the stress and anxiety experienced by young people. Anthea advocates for a cultural shift towards empathetic parenting and highlights the importance of employee well-being in the workplace. She encourages companies to prioritize mental well-being by integrating it into their business strategy and providing mental health benefits to employees.
Anthea proposes the establishment of a permanent mental well-being office under the Prime Minister’s office to elevate mental health to the same level of importance as other national priorities, such as digitalization and climate change.
In conclusion, they call on listeners to engage in discussions and actions that promote mental well-being in Singapore, making it a shared national priority. By fostering a culture of empathy and breaking through societal barriers, Singapore can work towards becoming a mentally healthy and resilient nation.