S’porean Teens From ‘Top Schools’ Increasingly Seeking Help At IMH To Cope With Stress

Institute Of Mental Health (IMH) Received 2,400 Youth Cases/Year On Average Since 2012

The hard lessons of learning how to endure & triumph over school-induced woes are what make or break our children.

To adults, getting a low mark on a quiz may be a small matter, but to a teen it often feels like everything is on the line.


Singapore’s education system has been called “stressful”, “unhealthy” & even a “pressure cooker”. Our ‘top schools’ have long been criticised for being too elite.

But a report from The New Paper recently calls into question the effect this environment has been having on our children.

More teenagers are in fact turning to the Institute of Mental Health’s (IMH) Child Guidance Clinics to seek help for “stress-related, anxiety and depressive disorders”.

Top school students are among them

Approximately 2,400 students on average from 2012 to 2017 have visited IMH for help with their cases.


More teenagers in IMH’s clinic are from “top schools” and are admitted for facing stress in school, said Dr Lim Choon Guan to The New Paper.

The conditions stem from a range of challenges that our children face — the pressure to perform academically, bullying cases and relationship issues, both romantic & familial.

This could result in emotional instability, self-harm, depression and suicides if left undealt with.

Less societal stigma to seek help early

But a rising trend in cases ironically isn’t exactly a bad sign.

Dr Lim believes that this could also mean that there’s less of a stigma to seek help early for mental health issues.

We should look out for tell-tale signs and nurture open communication in our relationships to ensure our youth receive help ASAP.

Peer support is key

Nurturing a healthy environment in schools without compromising on encouraging academic excellence may be a hard balance to strike.

However, as long as every student’s loved ones, classmates & schools are involved every step of the way, a support system can be built around our students at risk.


Schools are for enriching the minds, yes.

What’s infinitely more important is preparing our children to face the tribulations that life will eventually throw at them, and emerge stronger than ever.

Featured image from Google Maps.

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