Mental Health Education To Be Part Of MOE Curriculum, All Schools To Have Peer Support Networks

MOE Making Education More Holistic By Boosting Focus On Students’ Mental Health

Singapore’s fast-paced and competitive society can take a toll on one’s mental health, and young people aren’t immune to this. In fact, more and more teenagers have been seeking help for mental health issues.

To tackle this problem, the Ministry of Education (MOE) will be incorporating lessons on mental health into secondary schools’ new character and citizenship education (CCE) curriculum, reported The Straits Times (ST).

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Helping students understand mental health issues

The addition of lessons on mental health are to “help students to understand common mental health issues and their symptoms”, explained Second Minister for Education Indranee Rajah in Parliament on Wednesday (4 Mar).

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Responding to Members of Parliament who asked about schools’ plans to help students navigate mental health problems, ST also quoted her as saying:

With stronger mental health education and peer support cultures, students will also be able to watch out for one another, and seek guidance from teachers and counsellors if they notice that a friend is struggling.

Besides secondary schools, polytechnics and Institutes of Technical Education (ITE), in collaboration with the Health Promotion Board, will also develop health resources so their students will gain a better understanding of mental health and know when to seek help for problems.

Peer support for all secondary school students by 2022

In addition to the revamped curriculum, MOE will help secondary school students by providing all of them with peer support networks by 2022.

That means peer support leaders will be chosen to play an active role in taking care of other students. They will also help them understand mental health issues and when to seek help.

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However, the aim is not to limit peer support to leaders, but anyone and everyone.

The vision is “for every student to be a peer supporter”, who will form a “strong network of support” for their peers, Ms Indranee added — and this what will make the network effective.

Teachers have a role to play too

Though most of the measures seem oriented towards students, teachers have a role to play too, reported Channel NewsAsia (CNA).

Ms Indranee has tasked teachers to foster “a positive school learning environment” with “positive teacher-student relationships”.

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Teachers in schools and class advisers at institutes of higher learning will also be trained to pick up red flags of mental distress in students, reach out to them and refer them to mental health professionals if necessary.

Kudos to MOE for caring about mental health

We hope that this increased focus on mental health by MOE means a shift in attitudes towards such issues will also be forthcoming.

Since MOE has started the ball rolling, society should also be educated to recognise that mental health is just as worthy of attention than any physical health issues, and care for sufferers appropriately.

Kudos to MOE for doing more to protect our students!

Featured image adapted from Facebook.

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