Singapore’s Ministry of Health Office for Healthcare Transformation is building a digital platform that will help facilitate the integration of mental health support services provided by more than 450 health and social service agencies in the country.
The Digital Mental Health Connect (DMHC) platform will enable clinicians and counsellors from various health and social care settings to “seamlessly” refer patients or clients to one another. They will be referred to appropriate services based on their needs, preferences, and risk level.
This platform is planned to be integrated into existing social and health case management systems to “facilitate care integration, coordination, and data sharing.”
THE LARGER CONTEXT
The development of the DMHC is part of broader projects and initiatives that were outlined in the recently published Singapore’s National Mental Health and Well-being Strategy. Developed by the Inter-agency Taskforce on Mental Health and Well-being, the strategy ultimately aims to foster an effective mental health ecosystem where people with mental health needs can “seek help early without stigma and be readily supported for their recovery.”
The strategy covers four key areas to support and improve the mental health and wellbeing of the population:
expanding capacity of mental health services;
enhancing capabilities of service providers for early identification and intervention;
promoting mental health and wellbeing; and
improving workplace mental health and wellbeing.
In pursuing the strategy, Singapore is now introducing a Tiered Care Model to “better organise mental health services across health and social sectors, according to the severity of individuals’ mental health needs.” A common IT platform and guidelines on mental health data sharing are also planned to be developed to support this.
Additionally, the upcoming National Mental Health Office, which will oversee the implementation of the strategy, will be establishing a technological evaluation framework for existing and emerging digital mental health solutions. It will help the office in approving and regulating suitable solutions based on their cost-effectiveness, safety, and sustainability considerations.
ON THE RECORD
“The National Mental Health and Well-Being Strategy will tackle mental health issues coherently and holistically, from both preventive and curative perspectives, and through schools, community and workplaces. Ultimately, we need a whole-of-society approach to tackle mental health issues and improve the mental well-being of our population,” the MOH said about the strategy in a statement.
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