From The Straits Times    |

Ever experienced anxiety, depression or loneliness? According to a survey that is part of the Singapore Youth Epidemiology and Resilience Study involving 3,336 young people aged 11 to 18 here, one in three youth in Singapore has reported internalising mental health symptoms. 

What’s more, a survey on mental health and wellness conducted by Rakuten Insight in Singapore in May 2022, also stated that 51% of the respondents indicated that they had a higher level of stress or anxiety in the past 12 months. 

With that being said, it’s clear that many of us are still struggling with mental health issues, even after spending two years cooped up in our houses during the lockdown. Social media, for example, has an impact on how we live our lives. With many of us scrolling through our apps every day, it’s easy for us to be consumed and lose sight of what’s going on around us. 

Eventually, we find ourselves spiralling down a supermassive black hole that we find hard to get out of. For instance, some of us get drawn into yet another opportunity for comparison to others that can feed our negative thoughts and worsen our depression. Failing to meet unrealistic expectations of others. And there are even those who experience burnout from working long hours and taking on more than they can handle on a regular basis. 

Of course, staying mentally well should be given the same priority as keeping physically fit.  However, most of these mental health triggers are often overlooked, mostly because we weren’t aware of them and their impact. 

So, in celebration of World Mental Health Day today on 10 Oct, we’ve decided to round up some useful resources and key stories to help you better understand and manage your mental health. 

What affects your mental health?

Before diving into the different mental health issues, it is key that we learn more about what affects our mental health on a daily basis. Only by identifying the root cause of the problem, can we seek to find the right solution to our issues. For instance, some of the more surprising things that may affect our mental health include being indoors for a long period of time, prolonged loneliness, and a poor diet. Want to know more about the other contributing factors that affect your mental health? Read more about the list of things you do and are exposed to in your daily life that can affect your mental health

1. Depression

I’ve been living with depression since I was a teenager
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Many local celebrities have, in recent years, opened up about their mental health struggles publicly. Among them are actresses Jeanette Aw and Michelle Chong, who have shared their experiences battling depression, as well as personalities like Munah Bagharib and Hanli Hoefer, who have discussed their anxiety-related struggles on social media. However, it shouldn’t be uncomfortable to discuss these issues, now that it’s more prevalent in the community than we expected. 

When it comes to depression, it’s easy to dismiss the symptoms and avoid discussing them with your doctor. But having to experience and deal with depression can be tough, because, for most of us, depression doesn’t look (or feel) like what you think it is. In a recent article, Her World’s digital editor also accounts for her experience with what she learnt and had to (unlearn) about depression. And while the healing journey is an ongoing and arduous process, and there are times when we falter or had a few missteps along the way, the first step to recovery is choosing to get help. 

2. Anxiety

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Find yourself feeling more stressed, anxious, or down lately? You may be overwhelmed with work. Or for some, you might even find yourself experiencing feelings of intense, excessive and persistent worry and fear about other everyday situations. Whatever the reason is, feelings of anxiety are common and they can even be the result of the hot weather in Singapore. Yes, you read that right. In our recent article, we uncovered how the rise in temperature can also exacerbate feelings of anxiety. Some of these symptoms include feelings of agitation, reduced appetite, increased irritability and insomnia, all of which are aggravated by stressors such as high heat and humidity. Read more about how to alleviate these symptoms here. 

3. Loneliness

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Just got out of a long relationship with your partner? Starting to feel like everyone around you is getting married? While the singledom stress or even feelings of loneliness may be overwhelming at times, we’re here to tell you that a lot of us feel the same way at certain points in our lives. As pioneers of instant communication, millennials have been conditioned to fear being alone. Liking and commenting on each other’s pictures became the new way to display friendships. We crave that superficial interaction when our pictures hit 100 likes in the first hour. But likes can only get us so far. Social media has its limits, and while technology has transformed our lives, and mostly for the better, it’s not a panacea. In this article, we discuss one writer’s isolating addiction with social media in ‘Why Millennials Fear Loneliness The Most’.

If you ever feel like you’re especially vulnerable to feeling lonely, then you might want to check out our piece on How To Be At Peace With Being Alone’.

4. Burnout

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A lot of us are stuck in this cycle: we’re constantly working and it’s stressing us out, but the stress of not completing our tasks makes us work harder. A potential result? Burnout. According to a survey released by health service company Cigna last year, Singaporeans are among the most stressed at work globally, with almost one in eight considering their stress unmanageable. It may be really daunting for some especially when you’re trying to go above and beyond to climb up the corporate ladder, but the real question is – at what cost? If you’re starting to notice signs of burnout, then it’s important that you take a step back and find a practical alternative to managing your stress levels. To minimise your odds of suffering from burnout read these five tips.

(Also read: How To Say No — A Guide To Setting Boundaries And How To Stick With Them

5. Bereavement

How to handle grief after losing a loved one
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Losing a loved one often leads to a rush of emotions, including grief, and we can sometimes find it overwhelming to cope with them. Whether it’s a family member or friend, or even your pet, losing something that’s close to your heart can take a toll on your mental health. Read more about How To Handle Grief After Losing A Loved One Here‘. 

How to be happy

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Now that we’ve covered most of the common mental health issues, the next step is to find ways to prioritise our mental health. As such, we’ve compiled a list of apps (three of which are founded by Singaporeans, that aid you in finding and understanding your mental wellness), along with music playlists that you should definitely add to your library for some feel-good vibes. Check out our article on ‘Mental Wellness Apps That Help You Check In With Yourself’ for the full list.