Jon: Mental Health in Singapore

As most of you who are reading this blog are students interested to find out more about the field of mental health in Singapore, we will be doing up this special blog post to share some general information about it.  In 2010, the first ever population wide mental health study was conducted by the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) in collaboration with the Ministry of Health (MOH) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU).  Currently, with the addition of Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health from the National University of Singapore (NUS), IMH is conducting a similar population-wide study to track and trend the state of mental health status in the Singapore population.  This study is expected to be completed within this year and would most probably be published at the end of the 2017 or by 2018.

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Based on the previous study in 2010, 12.0% of the adult population in Singapore met the criteria for common affective (e.g., depression), anxiety or alcohol use disorders.  This means that 1 in 10 Singapore Residents are suffering from some form of major psychological disorder.  Additionally, the study acknowledges that these numbers may be higher due to the tendency for Asian populations to under-report psychological destress.  Furthermore, (sorry ladies) based on the study, they found women to be at a higher risk of Major Depression over their lifetime when compared to men, but the good news is that men were more at risk for substance abuse types disorders.  These findings provide a scary reality of a very real problem as mental illnesses are a huge burden for people inflicted with them.  Depression and anxiety are ranked the second leading cause of disability just behind diabetes in Singapore, which shows how crippling it can be when you consider how other more well-known diseases such as strokes or breast cancer are also on the list.

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Mental health is everybody’s business, and hopefully this short article will encourage you to read more about the field in Singapore.  Some helpful resources and articles can be found below to give you a better understanding of what else is being done in Singapore to tackle these problems.
Stay tuned for the post on the various VWO’s and Government Agencies uniting in the fight against Mental Illness in the coming posts!

Resources: [click on the titles to be directed to the articles]
  1. A population-based survey of mental disorders in Singapore
  2. Gender differences in major depressive disorder: findings from the Singapore Mental Health Study
  3. Beliefs About Help Seeking for Mental Disorders:  Findings From a Mental Health Literacy Study in Singapore
  4. Making in‐roads across the youth mental health landscape in Singapore:  The Community Health Assessment Team (CHAT)
  5. Recognition of mental disorders among a multiracial population in Southeast Asia 
  6. National Mental Health Blueprint
  7. Community Mental Health Team Programme Report
  8. Mental Health Educational Brochures

2017 Update: Academic requirements for local psychology diplomas and degrees

The 'O' levels results are coming out soon tentatively 11 to 13 January 2017, which has resulted in the polytechnics having a mad frenzy doing their Open Houses and JAE exercise for the next two weeks.
 As mentioned previously, the cut-off scores are the scores of the lowest ranked students who entered that program, and is only a general indication of the next year's intake, and hence does not guarantee that you will be given a spot even if you get that similar score.

Here are the cut-off for psychology and psychology-related programs from 2016 for your application in 2017:

For the diplomas:
These cut-off points are based on ELR2B2: (Please refer to the respective websites for more details)
EL=English Language; R2=Two relevant subjects; B2=Any two other subjects excluding CCA

SP:  Applied Drama and Psychology (Cut-off: 12)  /  Human Resource Management with Psychology (Cut-off: 12)
NP:  Psychological Studies (Cut-off: 8)  /  Child Psychology and Early Childhood (Cut-off: 13)
NYP:  Social Sciences (Social Work) (Cut-off: 16)
RP:  Human Resource Management with Psychology (Cut-off: 17)  /  Consumer Behaviour and Research (Cut-off: 19)
TP:  Psychological Studies (Cut-off: 9)
The results are also available here for more general information.

For the degrees: 
This are represented by their current year entry students' 3H2/1H1 and polytechnic GPA grades and stated by 10th % - lowest minimum; and 90th % - safest to be confirmed percentile

NUS (2016/17):  3H2/1H1:  10th - BBB/B, 90% - AAA/A.  GPA: 10th - 3.74, 90% - 3.94
(Additional criteria - Students must obtain at least a B-grade in each of these modules during their first year of the program: PL1101E and PL2131)
NTU (2016/17):  3H2/1H1:  10th - ABC/B, 90% - AAA/A.  GPA: 10th - 3.69, 90% - 3.94
SMU (2016/17):  3H2/1H1:   10th - BBC/B, 90% - AAA/A.  GPA: 10th - 3.71, 90% - 3.96

For last year's academic requirements, please view here!!

Good Luck for your 'O' Levels results and your polytechnic and university applications!!!

SGPsychStud: Top 10 and Bottom 10 of 2016 posts

This is the last post of 2016, ending the posts for this year as well creating a great start for 2017!  Since 2013, we have been announcing the Top 10 and Bottom 10 posts.  We hope that you do not only read the popular posts that everyone is interested in, but we hope that you read some of the most underrated posts of the year.
Just some figures if anyone is interested:  Viewership for the year was slightly over 68,000 views, which meant more than 5660 views per month.  The highest month was March with more than 8700 views; this is the highest ever viewed month for the whole history of SG Psych Stuff!!
Thank you everyone out there for your support, and we hope that we continue to write wonderful posts that you will be interested in!

Top 10 views of 2016:
  1. Comparison of Psychology Postgraduate Degrees in Singapore: 2016 Update - February
  2. Psychologist Registration in Singapore and Updates on the National Psychology Competency Framework - May
  3. Comparison of Psychology Bachelor Degrees in Singapore: Version 3 - February
  4. Specialisations of Diploma Programs in Singapore: 2016 Update - January
  5. Jon: A Student's Perspective of SPS PsychWeek 2016 - April
  6. Insight into Psychology in Malaysia and Singapore: MY Psychology + SG Psych Stuff (Part 1) - April
  7. Jon: A Student's Perspective of Singapore Mental Health Conference 2016 (Part 1) - June
  8. Jon: A Student's Perspective of Singapore Mental Health Conference 2016 (Part 2) - June
  9. SGPsychStud: Training pathways and Registration Requirements for Psychology, Counselling and Social Work - September
  10. 2016 Update: Academic requirements for local psychology diplomas and degrees - January
As usual, the top posts are all about psychology education and training in Singapore (1, 2, 3, 4, 9, 10).  Despite being in the top 10, there is a great discrepancy in viewership between the top 3:  the No. 1 post (Comparison of Psychology Postgraduate Degrees in Singapore: 2016 Update with almost 2000 views) has more than 4 times the viewership of the No. 4 post , with No. 2 and No. 3 posts (Psychologist Registration in Singapore and Updates on the National Psychology Competency Framework and Comparison of Psychology Bachelor Degrees in Singapore: Version 3 both at almost 900 views) almost doubled the viewership of the No. 4 post (Specialisations of Diploma Programs in Singapore: 2016 Update).
Though Part 1 of the joint SG Psych Stuff - MY Psychology post was No. 6, the Insight into Psychology in Malaysia and Singapore: MY Psychology + SG Psych Stuff (Part 2) is not far at No. 15.  Event posts (5, 7, 8) are also big hits, and we hope to bring you more exciting events in the future!

Bottom 10 posts of 2016:  (1 being most viewed and 10 being the least viewed)
  1. Trailer Post: UniPsych Symposium - August
  2. Brenda: Basic Information about Registration as a Psychologist in UK - September
  3. SGPsychStud: How to be Happier in the New Year of 2016 - January
  4. SGPsychStuff @ UniPsych Symposium: What can you expect from UniPsych Symposium - August
  5. SG Psych Stuff @ UniPsych Symposium: Session 2 - September
  6. SGPsychStud: Dealing with Stress as a Non-Prepper - October
  7. Jerry O.: The Influence of Social Media on Behaviour - December
  8. SGPsychStud: Having a Mentor for Your Psychological Journey - November
  9. SGPsychStud: Time to Check your New Year's Resolution!!! - April
  10. Merry Xmas from the SG Psych Stuff team!! - December
It is highly expected that the recent posts (7, 8, 10) have lower viewership, however there are unexpected sightings here too.  The post about UK psychologist registration (2) unfortunately fell into this list, despite being of the same topic as the Top posts!  If you are planning to study and work as a psychologist in UK, I advise that you better read this post.
Event posts (1, 4, 5) also made their way into the Bottom 10.  As UniPsych Symposium was one of the bigger events that we covered this year, there might be an overload of the posts about it hence the drop in viewership.
We made the similar mistake as last year and had some posts on random topics (3, 4, 6).  I urge you to read them as well, as they are all related to the topic of helping you handle stress and increase you motivation.  Looking back at my own New Year's resolution, Post 9 (SGPsychStud: Time to Check your New Year's Resolution!!!) definitely helped me in my own goals!

Achievements in 2016:
  • Building up the SG Psych Stuff team!  This has been the biggest achievement this year.  It has been unofficially established in July, and officially announced in October.  You can learn more about us here!  I have to thank the team for the hard work done in the last 6 months! 
  • Since the promise in 2013 of two blog posts per month and daily updates on Facebook, this has been achieved again this year.  36 posts over various topics have been posted over the last 12 months!
  • SGPsychStuff Twitter has been operating very well this year, under the management of Brenda, our Social Media Manager.
  • Being invited to UniPsych Symposium (write-ups 123) and covering a total of 3 events over several extensive posts! This credit goes to Jon, our Events Coordinator!
  • New revisions and updates of the comparison of the psychology postgraduate and undergraduate degrees and diplomas.  This update posts are long-awaited, as their last reviews were more than 4 years ago. 
I also want to thank my friends at MY Psychology (Insight into Psychology in Malaysia and Singapore Part 1 and 2), UniPsych team (6 posts), Miss Psychobabble (The Psychology Of "I Love You"), and the OverComeD team (OverComeD: First OCD campaign in Singapore) for the wonderful year and collaboration this year.  We hope to make it bigger next year with you guys!

Looking forward to 2017:
  • One of the thoughts that came up in the last post of 2015 was "Should I have a fixed topic for certain months?"  Yes!  The SG Psych Stuff team has fixed the topic for January and February, which will be on Mental Health in Singapore and their organisations, so stay tuned for the months to come!
  • We will be revamping our website, so exciting new changes!

Hope that you are enjoying your last days of 2016 and wishing you a Happy New 2017!

Merry Xmas from the SG Psych Stuff team!!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the SG Psych Stuff team!

Here's are some individual wishes from each of us from SG Psych Stuff!
Xmas is a time for yourself and your loved ones. Make sure you spend time with your loved ones, including with yourself!  Love yourself and seek happiness in the process!
Hope that this year has been as fruitful for you as it has been for me. Be grateful for what has happened, great or not so great ones. Seek greater heights in the next year!
Jerry O.:
There is no better time to give and to pay it forward to those who need it the most, than this season, as we commemorate the birth of a person in history who gives so much to the community. It is a good time to make a difference for others.There is no better gift to the ones we love than the gift of our time. If I could make a wish for those around me it would be good health. Here's to all the readers, I wish you happiness and success in all your endeavours for 2017!
Christmas is the season for giving and remembering and sharing the love. It is also an opportunity for us to send our blessings to those who have touched our lives. May you have the best of the Christmas season with your friends and family.
As we spend time with our friends and family this festive season, let's also take some time to think of the less fortunate who may have not have people to spend with them.  Perhaps even considering doing more for those who are less fortunate ourselves in the new year to come. Life is made great when we give.
Some tips from APA to make the best out of the holidays:

Jerry O.: The Influence of Social Media on Behaviour

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The behaviour of the average person is influenced by many factors, especially those that they are exposed to on a constant basis.  For instance, a person’s personal belief systems, family structure, family norms, peer pressure and even the environment will have influence on their reactions to situations and consequently will help shape their behaviour.  The social media has been repeatedly shown to be a viable source of social influence on people’s behaviour despite the fact that it is a collection of many virtual communities rather than real life interactions.

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With constant exposure to a particular kind of content, users are bound to have their thought processes, behaviour and actions becoming modelled after their most desired content.  For example, the words of favourite politicians and celebrities can determine the position their supporters and fans will take on various issues, respectively.  The extent to which a person patterns their behaviour after their favourite social media content is determined by a myriad of factors which include their parental upbringing, their personality, previous experiences and even their age.  It is expected that teenagers will be more influenced because they spend more time on social media than the older population;  it is more likely that teenagers will start dressing like their favourite pop star, model or actor because they are constantly searching for content about their idols, and as such it is inescapable that they begin to behave like them.  The downside to this is that it may make parenting more difficult especially if the idols are not very good role models for these teenagers.  The behaviour of adults on the other hand, even if it is influenced, will be to a lesser extent.

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Influence on Advertising and Buying Behaviour
The influence of social media on people’s behaviour has also spread its tentacles into virtually every aspect of people’s lives and shopping behaviour is not an exception.  This explains why many producers are increasing their advertisements on social media platforms with the ultimate aim of sitting in people’s psyche and exerting an influence on their choice of item to purchase.  The way this works is that a larger percentage of the population will buy things they catch their attention, thus catchy adverts are on the increase.  Another perspective to this is that even if the person will not make an immediate purchase online, the repeated exposure to a particular advert means when they go to a shop or they want to purchase an item, they will look out for the one that they have been seeing online, whether consciously or otherwise.

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Circulation of news
Another aspect of the influence of social media on people’s behaviour is related to the speed at which news gets circulated on the various forms.  The demand for information is growing and as such people want to be the ones to “break a news” to their circle;  thus, people no longer filter what is newsworthy and what should be private or left out of the news.  Everything is now fair game.  The effect this has is that people now have to watch their actions and behaviours even when with friends or family because even a slight slip-up can become a viral video showing failed family dinners, videos or screenshots that can ruin careers or at the very least make people the object of fun and ridicule even if such contents were uploaded with no malicious intent.  The overall effect is that people are paying closer attention to what they say and do thus making it hard to tell when someone is being real or just acting.  In other words, the good old days of being able to let go and be real is fast disappearing simply because you never know who is making a video and the internet never forgets.

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Positive effects on Behaviour
Social media can also have a positive effect on people’s behaviour.  For example, there are parenting forums which help parents through difficult times, weight loss groups, and generally groups where users dispel positive advice to each other with the ultimate aim of helping each other live good lives.  Some other platforms are also dedicated towards presenting different views on social issues and encouraging people to change their behaviour to create a better society.

The influence of social media on the way people behave is largely due to the fact that the ideas, notions and content they are exposed to become embedded in their minds over time and the behavioural changes begin gradually until they are very noticeable.  The negative effects on behaviour may outweigh the positive although the effect depends on the individual.  Therefore, people should pay close attention to the things they expose their minds to on social media and parents should also mind what their children and wards are doing on social media because it is a proven psychological fact that human behaviour and beliefs can be influenced by things they see continuously.

*This is the first post by Jerry of SG Psych Stuff! Learn more about Jerry and the other SG Psych Stuff team members here: