The Singapore Ministry of Health’s Office for Healthcare Transformation is building a digital platform that will help facilitate the integration of mental health support services provided by more than 450 health and social services in the country.

The Digital Mental Health Connect (DMHC) platform will enable doctors and counselors from different health and social care settings to “seamlessly” refer patients or clients to one another. They will be referred to appropriate services based on their needs, preferences and level of risk.

The plan is to integrate this platform with existing social and health case management systems to “facilitate care integration, coordination and data exchange.”

THE LARGER CONTEXT

The development of the DMHC is part of broader projects and initiatives described in the recently published Singapore reports National Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy. The strategy, developed by the Interagency Taskforce on Mental Health and Wellbeing, ultimately aims to promote an effective mental health ecosystem where people with mental health problems can “seek help early, without stigma, and be easily supported in their recovery.”

The strategy covers four key areas to support and improve the mental health and wellbeing of the population:

  • expanding the capacity of mental health services;

  • improving service providers’ capabilities for early detection and intervention;

  • promoting mental health and wellbeing; And

  • Improving mental health and wellbeing in the workplace.

Pursuing this strategy, Singapore is now introducing a tiered care model to “better organize mental health services across the health and social sector, according to the severity of individual mental health needs”. To support this, there are also plans to develop a common IT platform and guidelines for sharing mental health data.

In addition, the future National Mental Health Office, which will oversee the implementation of the strategy, will establish a technology assessment framework for existing and new digital mental health solutions. It will help the Office approve and regulate appropriate solutions based on their cost-effectiveness, safety and sustainability aspects.

ON THE RECORD

“The National Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy will address mental health issues coherently and holistically, from both a preventive and curative perspective and through schools, communities and workplaces. “Ultimately, we need a whole-of-society approach to address mental health issues and improve the mental wellbeing of our population,” the MOH said in a statement about the strategy.