​REACH (Response, Early intervention, Assessment in Community mental Health) is a community-based mental health programme to help students with mental health difficulties in Singapore. Established in 2007 under the National Mental Health Blueprint, each geographical zone (North, South, East and West) is served by a multidisciplinary team comprising medical doctors, clinical psychologists, medical social workers, occupational therapists and nurses from a host hospital.

REACH East is led by KKH’s Department of Psychological Medicine, with an aim to enable children displaying mild-to-moderate mental health symptoms to receive care and intervention within the community.   

“The team works closely with schools, voluntary welfare organisations (VWOs) and family doctors to form a community network that coordinates early detection and intervention for children and adolescents with mental health concerns,” shares Dr Delphine Koh, Senior Psychologist, Department of Psychological Medicine, KKH, who leads the REACH East team. “This helps youths to seek and receive appropriate help within the community.”

When a school counsellor or VWO representative identifies a child who may be at risk for mental health difficulties, they contact the REACH team.   After reviewing the child’s situation, the team provides feedback on a recommended course of action.

With the introduction of the REACH model, community partners are more aware of potential mental health problems in children and adolescents, and better equipped to enable early detection and intervention. Providing mental health care within the child’s community not only provides for better effectiveness as there is less disruption in the child’s routine and environment, but also enables quicker integration within their community at home and school.

This model also empowers AHPs and nurses within REACH teams to make assessments and draw up diagnosis and treatment plans.   A consultant child psychiatrist reviews and endorses the findings and recommendation prior to intervention by relevant professionals.

Moving forward, the REACH East team continues to work with the Ministry of Education, VWOs and general practitioners to identify more areas of collaboration to bring holistic mental health care to children and adolescents in the community.   The REACH East team was recently awarded the 7th Allied Health Innovative Practice (AHIP) Award for the innovative delivery of mental healthcare to children and adolescents in the community.

Find out more about the AHIP Award on the SingHealth intranet.