SINGAPORE, 20 December 2022 – Sengkang General Hospital (SKH) has signed Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) with the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) and Punggol West Citizens’ Consultative Committee (Punggol West CCC) today to enhance capabilities in managing and boosting mental resilience among youth and the elderly.
“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health issues in the community have been brought to the forefront. Tackling mental wellness and building mental resilience among youth and seniors require a multipronged strategy. These partnerships provide an additional pathway to help and manage individuals who might be developing or experiencing a mental health condition, and facilitate timely interventions. The collaboration between SKH and IMH as well as with Punggol West CCC is important for the sharing of skills and knowledge to raise awareness and to encourage everyone in the community to play a larger role,” said Prof Hsu Pon Poh, Chairman, Medical Board, Sengkang General Hospital.
The MoU with IMH has been developed to strengthen the care management of IMH patients with co-morbidities of psychiatric and chronic medical conditions and to boost mental health efforts in the community. Four key areas for collaboration have been identified:
(i) enhancing cross-institutional psychiatric and medical capabilities
(ii) providing efficient medical access for IMH patients
(iii) collaborating on population health initiatives and
(iv) collaborating on education, innovation and research
“A transfer to an acute hospital is required if our patients require specialist medical consultation, urgent radiological investigations, or when their medical conditions turn acutely complex. Such transfers can be disruptive and stressful for them. If part of such care can be rendered within IMH, either through tele-consultation or having our family physicians and SKH specialists jointly review the patients, we will be able to limit the transfers to critical and emergency situations. This collaboration will help both hospitals better streamline care processes, optimise the use of healthcare resources, and elevate the skillsets of our clinicians to manage more challenging situations. This way, IMH patients can receive specialist or acute medical care in a familiar environment and if a trip to SKH is required, the process is smoothened to ameliorate their stress,” said Associate Professor Swapna Verma, Chairman, Medical Board, Institute of Mental Health.
Under the collaboration, SKH specialists will run clinic sessions at IMH for patients with acute complex medical needs and provide telephonic access for IMH physicians to review patient cases with the SKH specialists. It will also establish a pathway for urgent referrals from IMH to SKH Emergency Department (ED) and radiology facilities.
Cross-institutional training between SKH and IMH will also be conducted. This includes IMH’s Care & Response training programme that helps to equip SKH’s healthcare staff with additional knowledge and skills to manage patients with disturbed behaviour, as well as de-escalation and simple self-defence techniques to manage complex situations.
SKH-Punggol West CCC MOU
The MoU with Punggol West CCC, on the other hand, aims to promote mental health and wellness in the community. Creating awareness and better understanding of mental health issues among the youth and elderly will help the community leaders and volunteers to provide better support to residents. Three key areas for collaboration have been identified:
(i) providing training and professional support to community volunteers, champions and ambassadors
(ii) providing a tiered approach system to mental health management
(iii) jointly conducting mental health and wellness activities and events for the promotion of mental health
A “Train-the-Trainers” programme is being developed to equip members of the community with skills to identify, manage, and help those who might be developing or experiencing a mental health condition, and referring them to the appropriate service or resource.
Ms Sun Xueling, Advisor to Punggol West Grassroots Organizations, said: “We believe that upstream measures to build resilience in individuals, strengthen mutual care and concern and ability in the identification of mental health issues in the community and facilitating early and appropriate intervention is important. Managing mental health issues and promoting well-being requires a whole of society effort and Punggol West is delighted to be part of the partnership with SKH and their collaboration with IMH.”
For media queries, please contact:
Sengkang General Hospital
DID: 6930 4475 HP: 9686 7159
Quek Ai Choo
Deputy Director, Corporate Communications
Institute of Mental Health
DID: 6389 2865 HP: 9369 2729
Punggol West Constituency Office Punggol West Community Centre
DID: 6443 7064