Don’t compromise on your mental health, reach out for help if you feel overwhelmed

As work-from-home (WFH) arrangement continues to dominate working lives — especially those working in offices, care groups have observed spikes in calls seeking help regarding mental health.

According to Straits Times, the Samaritans of Singapore (SOS)’s mental health helpline reported a 40% increase on 16th May 2021, the day Singapore officially entered Phase 2 (Heightened Alert), which saw the nation hunker back the largest extent since the Circuit Breaker measures imposed in mid-2020.

We must recognize the fact that WFH arrangements are not optimal for every individual. WFH arrangements have blurred the line between work and leisure, and some of us might not be aware of how work has increasingly dominated our lives.

Also, with more family members staying at home, it might prove to be disruptive to individual working styles due to increased noise from surroundings (neighbours, children, or even construction), distractions, etc.

In a 2020 survey conducted by EngageRocket, one in six workers expressed that they felt stressed.

When asked about the ‘acceptability’ of their stress levels, 30% of education sector employees and 22% of consumer industry employees indicated that the stress levels they faced were ‘unacceptable’.

2021 survey results will be in soon by end-June 2021 — it would honestly not be surprising if the numbers spike.

Did you know that in 2020, a “Right to Disconnect” law was suggested in parliament by labour MP Melvin Yong?

France, for example, has successfully implemented such legislation. In France, employers and employees negotiate the protocol for non-emergency calls and non-critical emails, outside of working hours.

Mr Yong emphasized that such practices are, and should not be ‘radical’ and can be adopted here in Singapore as well. He also cited the German concept of “Feierabend” — which describes the time after the workday ends and rest time begins.

In case you didn’t know, Mr Yong has been a long-time champion of workplace safety and health. He expressed that mental health issues should not be mere labels, but the imperative is to help and protect workers who might be suffering in silence.

The Labour MP reiterated his commitment to continue to champion for the mental health of workers, “because a mentally resilient workforce leads to a safer work environment for everyone”.

Helplines

The negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health can be a lot more prevalent than we all like to think. If you are struggling or know of someone who might need help, contact the National Care Hotline at 1800-202-6868.

For Mental Well-being

  • Fei Yue’s Online Counselling Service: eC2.sg
  • Institute of Mental Health’s Mental Health Helpline: 6389-2222
  • Samaritans of Singapore: 1800-221-4444
  • Silver Ribbon Singapore: 6385-3714