Living in Singapore very often means living in a society that gets swept up in this pressure to achieve feats.
So, it is not uncommon to see the youth and young working adults going to drastic lengths to study or work till the wee hours of the night to reach those goals.
As a matter of fact, in Singapore, it is considered the norm to do so. However, such lifestyles can quickly make many feel burnt out or face issues along the way to achieving success.
Although the pandemic has opened more frequent discussions about mental health, there is still a need to emphasise the importance of counselling. Many Singaporeans are either unaware that they are suffering from these issues in silence or shying away due to the stigma associated with going for counselling.
A PRESSURE COOKER SOCIETY
When Singaporeans complain that they are tired, they aren’t joking – they are.
According to a study of 100 cities conducted by Kisi, an American security solutions company, Singapore is currently the fourth most overworked city in the world, behind only Dubai, Hong Kong, and Kuala Lumpur.
This means so long as they are still awake, they would feel the need to stay hyper-connected, hyper-updated, and hyper-aware of everything happening around them, resulting in a lack of sleep and increasing fatigue among Singaporeans, reported Channel News Asia.
In addition, with rising affluence and competitiveness to do well, working hard to attain success becomes no longer the only requirement, as the additional responsibility of standing out from others to gain better positions has been put on their shoulders.
It encourages a fear of missing out (FOMO) in the society. Before they know it, they are put into this endless loop of keeping themselves busy 24 hours a day, unaware whether they have reached their limit because others still appear to be alive and thriving, so why shouldn’t they?
IMPORTANCE OF COUNSELLING
After closing one eye to the warning signs of their mental health declining, some people may start to realise that they have lost interest in the things they once liked.
They might develop anxious thoughts and get stressed at even small tasks assigned to them. Unknowingly, they might also start to notice problems that arise amid their relationships at home, work, or school.
Yet, no matter how much some people attempt to navigate the growing pains of their youth and adulthood, the likelihood of them reaching out to a professional for help is pretty slim.
It could be because they are unaware that they require the help due to the common misconception that only those with serious mental health issues should seek help. According to Honeycombers, it couldn’t be far from the truth.
One of the reasons why it is important to emphasise how vital counselling is in Singapore is to reduce such misconceptions from growing further. There is no hard and fast rule on who counselling is for. Counselling can serve as a platform for individuals to gain a better understanding and awareness of how one is thinking and feeling.
Speaking to a counsellor allows one to acknowledge and articulate their feelings using expanded vocabulary. It also equips individuals with healthy problem-solving techniques to handle one’s emotions when faced with everyday problems or stressors.
On the other hand, though some are aware that they need to seek help, have shied away due to the neverending stigma that surrounds counselling.
And although the pandemic has pushed Singaporeans to address the issue of one’s mental well-being and mental illnesses more frequently, in some ways, it remains as a taboo topic to many.
Speaking to a professional will allow one to receive an objective viewpoint of their situation in a safe space or lend a listening ear to those who require it to heal.
With every cloud, there’s a silver lining. The silver lining, in this case, is that because such conversations about one’s mental health are gradually becoming more normalised, it should become easier for counsellors to reach out to their target groups and continue emphasising the importance of counselling.