As a mental health advocate, suicide survivor and a person living with Bipolar Disorder, I get asked this question the most often: how and where can someone get help?
I totally understand that this can be a big step and takes a tremendous amount of courage to reach out. But once you or someone you know does that, then you can be sure you (or they) can finally take steps toward recovery. As I’ve said in my own book on mental health (Bipolar Phoenix, available on Amazon.com), everyone has the opportunity to recover. There is always hope!
First things first, you can’t get help if you don’t ask. Now more than ever, people are listening to mental health issues. Please reach out if you need help. The empathy movement is in full force and I hope everyone will take advantage of that compassion.
Before I offer a list of places, know that you can always start with mental health support from your primary care doctor or even a walk-in clinic at a private hospital, such as Raffles Hospital or Mt. Elizabeth. I know from research that expat-oriented providers, such as International Medical Clinic, have doctors who are keenly aware of mental health issues and can help get you started either with medication or an assessment. General practitioners can also refer you to a specialist — specifically a psychiatrist who manages illness by prescribing medication. (This is my personal go-to for help.)
The other route is to reach out to someone who does psychotherapy/counseling, which is provided by a certified psychologist or counselor. These professionals use a variety of techniques to help manage symptoms. For myself, I use both a doctor and a therapist. There are so many different kinds of therapy! It’s almost exciting to try them, such as animal therapy or outdoors events.
One therapy that I wish I could do more of is horse-assisted psychotherapy. It’s literally working with horses and a specially-trained therapist to help build mindfulness skills to manage emotions and triggers. It was a very powerful experience for me and I hope to go back for more.
Another therapy that I also do in Singapore is Walk-and-Talk therapy. I meet my therapist in the Botanic Gardens, and literally walk and talk. The beautiful natural scenery is calming and the walking is therapeutic. It is so much better than just sitting in a boring old office. This type of therapy is offered by several companies here.
So, that’s my continuing effort and experience with doctors and therapists in Singapore for help. Here are some more resources.
If you or someone you know is in crisis or who has hurt themselves, call 995 for an ambulance. DO NOT HESITATE.
If you or someone you know is suicidal, Samaritans of Singapore (available 24/7) understands and can help via a phone call. They are well-trained with empathy and compassion, so don’t be afraid you are being a burden or over-reacting. If you feel suicidal, whether you act on it or not, you still need help and support. That number is:
1-888-221-4444. You can also chat or email through their website: Samaritans of Singapore (SOS) | Homepage
The IMH (Institute for Mental Health) hotline is another place you can call for support: 6389-2222.
SAMH (Singapore Association for Mental Health) – 1-800-283-7019. This group in Singapore focuses on mental health rehabilitation and reintegration, both of which are often concerns of people seeking help, as they need to know not only how to get better, but also how to keep moving forward with their lives.
For therapists, there are lot of options. Here are some expat-friendly services:
Lastly, Psychology Today lists counselors and therapists in Singapore.
I hope you will know that there is always hope to recover from and live with mental health issues. I’m living proof! If you have any questions for me, you can reach out via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.