Common Mental Health Issues That Youths in Singapore Face

What are the common mental health issues that youths in Singapore face? Not many people realise that there is actually a huge number of youths that are facing mental health related issues. The general reason that is being stated is that youths are young, why would they be having any mental health issues? Youth mental health is the basis of the wellbeing of a youth. Everyone is allowed to have their own issues, no one is wrong or right for having a particular issue. In Singapore, there are many youths that are stressed out. It has become known in our society that we Singaporeans are living a stressful lifestyle. Once again you may wonder, but youths only have so little responsibilities why are they facing mental health issues. Before we go deeper into the mental health of youths in Singapore, let’s learn about the common issues that youths face in Singapore.

Mental health is the state of complete mental, physical and social well-being. In general most of us have the capability to cope and work with the normal stresses of life, productively working, contributing to our community and realising our potential while a person with mental health problems may not find it as easy as us and actually have difficulty in doing so.

In the current society, 1 out of 7 Singaporeans have experienced a mental disorder in their lifetime. Many people in Singapore regarded this topic as taboo and we have decided to let people understand the common mental conditions that are being faced by Singaporeans.

As of 2021, depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and substance abuse are the top 5 mental health conditions among Singaporeans. Hopefully this article will be able to help you understand more about the conditions and the symptoms that come along with it as well as the treatment options that are currently available and how you can support someone with a mental condition.

  • Depression

It is normal in life to have tough times and feel sadness once in a while, most of us take in the fact that whatever that is happening is temporary as well as the feelings of sadness and how it will pass us eventually. On the other hand, for some people with depression, these feelings can occur over a longer period of time and can be so hurting that it affects their everyday life.

Symptoms of Depression

If you happen to experience five or more of the symptoms stated below for more than two weeks, this could be an indication of depressive disorder.

  • Feeling unhappy and guilty
  • Low self esteem
  • No longer interested in activities
  • Insomnia or excessive sleeping
  • Problems with digestion
  • Physical pain
  • Unable to focus and make decisions
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts
  • Restlessness
  • Anxiety

Commonly when we are stressed, our natural body responds with fear about what will happen next. When these feelings are extreme and they last longer than six months and they start to interfere with our lives, it can be classified as an anxiety disorder.

Symptoms of Anxiety

  • Feeling nervous, tense or restless
  • Sense of upcoming danger or panic
  • Heart rate increases
  • Hyperventilation
  • Increased in sweating
  • Feeling weak
  • Unable to stay focus
  • Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is known as extreme changes of mood be it from high to low or low to high. The periods that are high are known as mania and the periods that are low are known as depression. In certain periods, it is possible for a mix of moods which will cause a person to feel both elated and depressed. For some exceptional cases, an individual may feel the symptoms of mania but with a milder intensity. This is commonly known as hypomania.

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

  • Mania
    • Euphoria
    • Abnormally upbeat or hyper
    • Unable to make decisions
    • Unusual talkativeness 
    • Not much need of sleep
    • Racing thoughts
    • Increased energy
  • Depression
    • Feeling sad and empty
    • Change in weight
    • Restlessness
    • Feeling fatigue
    • Feeling guilty
    • Unable to stay focus
    • Suicidal thoughts
  •  Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a condition in which it affects a person’s perception of reality. This condition varies from person to person, however it is generally characterised by episodes of psychosis in which the person loses touch with reality.

Symptoms of Schizophrenia

When we think of schizophrenia people generally think of people who see things and hear voices that are actually not there. People with this condition experience negative reactions such as low self esteem and find difficulty in forming social connections as well.

  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Disorganised speech
  • Disorganised behaviour
  • Negative reactions 
  • Substance Abuse

This consists of consuming illegal drugs and using alcohol, prescription medicine and any other legal substances too much or using it not in the way it was intended for is considered as substance abuse. This can be damaging to our physical, mental and spiritual well-being.

Symptoms of Substance Abuse

  • Increased energy
  • Excessive sleep
  • Slowness in movement, speech or reaction
  • Sudden change in weight
  • Syringes and pipes visible
  • Nasal problems
  • Persistent cough
  • Sudden changes in clothing
  • Always in the state of confusion
  • Dental issues


  • Treatment for mental health issues usually consists of a team of counsellors, psychologists, psychiatrists, nurses, mental health aides and support from professionals. The treatment results differently for various patients even if they have the exact same diagnosis. Here is a list of some of the available treatment options for people who are battling mental health conditions.
  • Medication
  • Psychotherapy
  • Hospital and residential treatment programmes
  • Brain stimulation therapy
  • Self- Care
  • Diet
  • Sleep
  • Exercise

How can I help someone who has a mental condition?

Well one of the best ways to help a loved one that has a mental condition is to first provide emotional support for them. Spend time with them and ensure that it is an open and non- judgemental space for them to speak openly about the issues that they are facing. Avoid putting pressure on them and let them lead the discussion first, let them share what they feel like sharing as they may not be ready to talk about certain issues. Carefully listen to what they are sharing with you and constantly assure them that you understand what they are saying. From time to time ask them questions that are open ended to prompt them into giving you full sentence answers and more information. 

While focusing one helping your loved one, ensure that you take care of your physical and mental health as well. It is important to recognise and understand the limits of what you can give and do for your loved ones (mental health support is key!), and reach out for help when needed. After all, we cannot give what we do not have. We hope this article has cleared any doubts or misconceptions that you may have had.