A recent study on youth mental health in Singapore discovered that parents may be unaware of their children’s mental health issues.
Youth Epidemiology and Resilience Study
The National University of Singapore (NUS) study examined 3,336 respondents aged 10 to 18 and discovered that just one in every ten parents detected indicators of mental health issues in their children, whereas one in every three adolescents reported such symptoms.
According to the study, one in every three respondents experienced internalising symptoms such as despair and anxiety, while one in every six reported externalising symptoms such as hyperactivity, rule-breaking, and violence.
Image source: iStock
The Youth Epidemiology and Resilience Study is Singapore’s first countrywide study of adolescent mental health and resilience. It also investigated identity formation and media engagement. In all, one out of every ten responders met the criteria for at least one mental health issue.
Key Findings of the Study
- Adolescents between the ages of 14 and 16 reported greater mental health symptoms than other age groups.
- Adolescents from single-parent households experienced more mental health issues than those from dual-parent households.
- Boys reported greater resilience than girls in all ten resilience domains.
- Positive self-image or optimism, personal control, relationships and social support, and emotional regulation were all linked to improved mental health.
- Parents were less likely to notice mental health issues in their children, but one in every three adolescents reported such symptoms.
- Parents regularly underestimated the amount of time their children spent on electronic gadgets.
- Socialising and listening to music had a good impact on adolescents’ mental health, showing that they may turn to such outlets for emotional regulation and self-therapy.
Parents Urged to Develop Relationships with Their Children
Image source: iStock
With the findings revealing that many parents may fail to recognise mental health difficulties in their children, one of the study’s authors, Professor Wong, urged parents to form relationships with their children from an early age. When they reach puberty, they will have channels of communication, conversation, and understanding.
Current Government Efforts to Support Youth Mental Health
Singapore’s government has taken steps to improve youth mental health, including the establishment of the Interagency Taskforce on Mental Health and Well-being in July 2021 to coordinate efforts.
The task group issued suggestions, including a tiered care model of mental health services for youth with varied levels of need and a “toolbox” of tools for parents to help their children’s mental well-being.
Increased Awareness Needed
Overall, the study emphasises the need for greater parental, educational, and societal understanding of youth mental health issues as well as the significance of resilience in fostering teenage mental well-being.
Parents must be able to spot the early indicators of mental health problems in their children and take the necessary action to address them. Young people can build resilience and achieve good mental health outcomes with the correct help and support.
Are You Speaking To Your Kids About Mental Health?
Parenting Tips To Help Raise Strong and Resilient Kids
Harsh Discipline in Children is Linked to Long-Term Mental Health Issues