More 'Depressed' Singaporean Youths Turning To Student Confession Pages For Advice

More 'Depressed' Singaporean Youths Turning To Student Confession Pages For Advice

These posters claim to have mental health issues, struggles with their sexuality and problems with their families.

Who do you turn to when you are troubled about something? If you are a parent now, you would have probably gone through the teenage phase: stressing about school day in and out, having a crush on someone, and everything else in between. The most natural thing for you to do then would be to tell your closest friends and family, wouldn’t it? 

However for some, whether or not they have such a support system in place, there are always certain things teenagers nowadays would never be able to tell another. And so, they turn to online networking platforms to “solve” these issues.

‘Depressed’ Youths And Vulnerable Confessions On Student Confession Pages 

“I am a yr 1 CS student and at this point I don’t even try to study anymore because I feel so hopeless for PEs and finals. I just feel like killing myself,” said by an anonymous poster.

Another original postings (OP) wrote on how “life is sad” and there are double standards when it comes to dealing with individuals with depression, as implied from the original post.

“Now I don’t open up to people anymore, and I always think alot when I’m alone, like I am better off dead, will people be happy if I’m dead.” 

These are OPs taken from NUSWhispers, a page that is dedicated to giving every NUS student a place to voice their concerns and get advice.

Source of Controversy With Student Confession Pages

More often than not, these pages found on social networking sites are usually initiated by school and universities by a member of the community. While pages like NUSWhispers encourages “socially responsible” behaviour when posting, these pages have been said to be the source of controversy, according to TODAY.

Many of the posts—which shouldn’t be taken too seriously—feature confessions of those in positions of vulnerability, reported TODAY. These OP’s claim to be facing issues relating to mental health, struggles with their sexuality and problems with their families. 

Similarly to NUSWhispers, there are many other student confession pages like NTU Confessions, SIM Confessions and Temasek Polytechnic’s TP Confessions, which Twitter page has more followers (18.6k) than its Facebook page (7.3k).

“Increasing Trend” In Depressed Youths

More 'Depressed' Singaporean Youths Turning To Student Confession Pages For Advice

Even Mr Ng Kah Wee, one of the administrators of NTU Confessions, said he has seen an “increasing trend” in depressed youths in the recent years, as told to TODAY.

It was said to be related to loneliness, or the youths not knowing what they want to do in life after graduation.

In many cases, according to TODAY, the commenters offered encouragement. “Talk to a counsellor”, “you can talk to me”, “don’t give up”, “I survived, so can you”, are some of those comments. 

Although it was said that the posts could help uplift and encourage those who feel isolated and need a listening ear, experts do warn that these OPs should know that there are risks involved. 

For instance, there are commenters who have provided “snarky and demeaning comments”, labelling a certain OP’s situation with depression as “Strawberry”.

Tan Ern Ser, NUS’ associate professor of sociology warned: “the danger is that they may receive unhelpful responses which would be counter-productive.”

Are These Platforms ‘Legitimate’? How To Better Help Students?

According to the news report, it was up to the page administrators to make the page more useful for students. 

Speaking to TODAY, psychiatrist Dr Lim Boon Leng, who specialises in issues with depression and mood disorders, said that commenters who do so on anonymous platforms do so without much thought. 

Hence, it would be up to the administrators in filtering out posts that do not fulfil the “purpose” of the page, and be responsible for what goes up on the platform. “

One important point for OP’s to note is that they should be prepared to not receive the “constructive or genuine that they are looking for.

Especially when it comes to serious matters, one should seek for professional help rather than hope for a resolution on student confession pages, according to Dr Lim. 

“Face to face evaluation and diagnosis, counselling and therapy is still important, particularly if the problem is more severe, more complex one or if a psychological condition truly exist. Such confession pages cannot substitute professional treatment,” Dr Lim added.  

Ultimately, it all boils down to responsible use of such student confession pages, and respecting each other as individuals. 



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All images credited to NUSWhispers.

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Written by

Jia Ling

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