In Parliament on Monday (4 May), Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) Anthea Ong raised concerns about the mental health of the migrant workers who are currently under lockdown.
Understanding that there are on-site medical teams for all 43 Purpose-Built Dormitories (PBD) for the migrant workers in Singapore, Ms Ong asked Health Minister Gan Kim Yong if there would be a mental health professional placed with the medical teams.
She noted that a mental health professional could present in the form of a counsellor or a psychologist who can be attached to the on-site medical teams.
Other than acknowledging the physical health teleconsultation services for the migrant workers in the factory-converted dormitories, Ms Ong also questioned if the workers would be able to have access to psychological services via teleconsultation as well.
In regards to Ms Ong’s concerns, Mr Gan explained that the on-site medical teams are linked to the various regional healthcare systems, adding that within these regional healthcare systems, mental health and other healthcare services are included.
However, it implies that a mental health professional is technically not included within the on-site medical teams.
He also did not manage to answer Ms Ong’s concern on the availability of teleconsultation for mental health.
“Our medical team on the ground linked back to the various regional healthcare systems.
Within these regional healthcare systems, they have support from the entire healthcare system including mental health, as well as other healthcare services.”
Mr Gan proceeded to reveal that a “full range” of services are available to the on-site medical teams. Therefore, they can assess and decide what form of mental health support is needed.
He went on to elaborate that the medical teams will be dealing with individual cases, noting that it is inclusive of both COVID-19 infected and non-infected people, as well as acknowledging that those who are not infected with the coronavirus may also experience mental health issues.
“They have a full range of services available to them, and they will assess the situation well and decide on what form of mental health support is needed.”
“They will also be dealing with the individual cases, assessing each individual patient, or even those are non-patients (those who are not infected by COVID-19) could also have mental health issues.”
Mr Gan had also mentioned about the Forward Assurance Support Team (FAST) introduced by the Government to handle the migrant workers in terms of their meals, hygiene, daily activities, as well as mental well-being.
Considering that the inter-agency task force is “very mindful” of the migrant workers’ mental health, he said, “They’re working with the medical team on the ground with strong support from various regional healthcare systems to provide mental health services to the workers who may need them.”