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310721 Free Counselling in Singapore

Where to Find Mental Health Resources And Affordable or Free Counselling in Singapore (2022)

profileJunel Seet

Here are some statistics about mental health in Singapore that might interest you.

According to a survey of 6,126 participants from 15,900 randomly selected Singapore residents done by the Institute of Mental Health (Singapore), one in seven people in Singapore has suffered from a mood, anxiety or alcohol use disorder in their lifetime.

More startling is the estimate that roughly 18 per cent of youth in Singapore are suffering from depression.

In 2020, the Samaritans Of Singapore (SOS) reported these facts about suicide:

  • 452 lives were lost to suicide in 2020, this is the highest number of suicides since 2012
  • Suicide is the leading cause of death for those aged 10-29
  • There are five times more deaths from suicide than transport accidents in 2020
  • Males account for more than 70% of all suicides in 2020
  • For every suicide, at least 6 suicide survivors are left behind

But here’s something more shocking. Thanks to Singapore’s swift and effective response to COVID-19, only 37 lives were lost to the disease since it landed on our shores in January 2020.

This means that suicide has claimed 12 times more lives in 2020 compared to COVID-19.

In an interview with The Straits Times, SOS CEO Gasper Tan said that ‘Covid-19 has severely affected the nation’s economy, lifestyle and mental health. We are extremely worried about how our elderly are coping during this public health crisis.’

These numbers weren’t thrown out just to scare you, but to tell you that mental health problems are close and real. We hope that you do not reach the point of feeling suicidal before seeking help because you might be worried about the cost. 

Source: Giphy | It’s Okay to Not Be Okay

As such, we have put together this list of places where you can seek help for free or at affordable prices or point a friend/family member in the right direction.


TL;DR: Guide to Affordable or Free Counselling in Singapore (2021)

Where To Get HelpEstimated Cost
HelplinesFree
Online Counselling Chats
School Counselling (Universities & Polytechnics)Free for students
Student Counsellors$25 - $40 per session
(Subsidies available)
Family Service Centres & Voluntary Welfare Organisations$80 - $100
(Subsidies available)
Polyclinic, General Practitioners $37 - $40

(for subsidised Psychiatric treatment)

 


Before we begin it is important for you to be aware of these suicide risk factors and warning signs to spot in yourself or your friends/family so you can either look to seek help or intervene.

SOS has identified the following risk factors:

  • Previous attempt or family history of suicide
  • Mental health conditions
  • Serious or chronic health conditions
  • Distressing life events
    (divorce, job loss, death of close ones, etc.)
  • Prolonged stress factors
    (bullying, abuse, unemployment, etc.)

Also here are some warning signs you need to be aware of:

Talk
  • “My family will be better off without me”
  • “My life is meaningless anyway”
  • “If you don’t love me, I’ll kill myself”
Actions
  • Giving away treasured possessions and saying goodbye
  • Researching suicide methods
  • Writing suicide notes (including emails/diaries/blogs)
Mood
  • Emotional outbursts
    (anger, sadness, irritability, recklessness)
  • Loss of interest
  • Humiliation or anxiety

With that out of the way here is the list.

1. Dial A Helpline

Immediate help is just a phone call away and most of these hotlines even operate for 24 hours a day.

InstitutionAboutOperational HoursContact
AWAREWomen's helpline for assistance with various concerns, offering empathy, support, information and encouragement(Mon - Fri) 10am - 6pm except for public holidays1800 777 5555
Sexual assault care centre helpline for those or someone you know has faced sexual assault or harassment(Mon - Fri) 10am - 6pm except for public holidays6779 0282
Care Corner Counselling CentreMandrin counselling hotline service for those struggling with:
-Family dynamics
-Grief and loss
-Mental health challenges
-Personal challenges
-Pre-marital and marital issues
(Daily) 10am - 10pm except for public holidays1800 3535 800
Credit Counselling SingaporeNational CARE Hotline (NCH) for any issues like with your personal and family lives, jobs or debt problems(Daily) 8am - 12am1800 202 6868
Institute Of Mental Health’s Mental (IMH)Mental Health Helpline to address any mental health issues24-hour hotline6389 2222
Samaritans of SingaporeSuicide hotline where trained volunteers provide round the clock emotional support for those in distress24-hour hotline1-767
Singapore Association for Mental Health (SAMH)Contact for further support or information on mental health issues(Mon – Fri) 9am to 1pm | 2 – 6pm1800 283 7019
Tinkle FriendHelpline that provides counselling support for children(Mon – Fri) 2.30pm – 5pm1800 2744 788
TOUCH Community ServicesTOUCHline that provides counselling support for Youth
(Mon – Fri) 9am – 6pm1800 377 2252

2. Online Counselling

If picking up a phone is too intimidating, there are some free online chat platforms to consider.

You can contact the eCounselling Centre/eC2 Singapore: an online chat counselling platform run by Fei Yue Community Services

for people who may feel more comfortable expressing themselves and sharing their problems in writing. This opens up the doors of help to people who are deterred by the inconvenience or fear of going to a counselling centre.

Online counsellors for quick chats are available from Mondays to Fridays, 10am – 12pm and 2pm – 5pm.

Otherwise, you can make a one-hour appointment with a consistent counsellor in a chatroom.

Alternatively, you can try Community Psychology Hub’s (CPH) online counselling platform that helps Singaporeans and/or residents of Singapore who are at least 18 years of age, with marital or divorce or parenting-related issues.

The live chat is available from Mondays Fridays, 9am6pm (except public holidays).

If you have an issue outside of these hours, you could always email them.

But if you want to speak to someone face to face, Silver Ribbon is providing a free online counselling initiative where you get to chat with trained counsellors via video call.

Simply contact them at the following numbers to arrange for a free online counselling session.

H.O.L.A.
Address: Blk 208 Serangoon Central, #01-238, Singapore 550208
Telephone: 6386 1928

The Linkage
Address: Wisma Geylang Serai, 1 Engku Aman Turn Level 4, Singapore 408528
Telephone: 6509 0271

Raintree Sanctuary
Address: Blk 550 Hougang Street 51, #01-168, Singapore 530550
Telephone: 6385 3714

3. Student Counselors and Free Counselling For Students

In the early stages of life, time and relationship management may induce a whirlpool of emotions for a young individual.

Trained counsellors are available in all schools in Singapore. Otherwise, teachers and tutors are always around to act as the first line of help and support.

Something we found out from our community was that James Cook University (JCU) also has an in-house psychology clinic that opens its access to the public.

Psychological treatment or psychotherapy is offered at minimal cost by JCU Singapore students who are completing post-graduate practical training at the JCU Singapore Psychology Clinic to qualify as Clinical Psychologists.

You can get treatment for a wide range of emotional, behavioural and cognitive challenges you might be suffering from

Charges are at a modest fee from $25 to $40 and you can call in to enquire about a full waiver which is granted on a case to case basis.

Email: [email protected]

Hotline: +65 6709 3762

Free Counselling For Students in Singapore

In addition, universities and polytechnics provide ‘free’ counselling services for their students:

SchoolContact InformationFees
Universities
National University of SingaporeAddress:
University Health Centre, Level 2
20 Lower Kent Ridge Road
Singapore 119080

Opening hours:
(Mon – Wed) 8.30am-6pm
(Thur) 8.30am - 5pm
(Fri) 8.30am - 5.30pm

Contact: 6516 2376

Support Hotline: 6516 7777
Free for students
Nanyang Technological UniversityAddress:
University Health Service
#02-01
36 Nanyang Avenue
Singapore 639801

Opening hours:
(Mon – Thur) 8.30am-5.45pm
(Fri) 8.30am - 5.15pm

Contact: 6790 4462

Support Hotline (outside office hours): 9721 1637
Free for undergraduates and graduates
Singapore Management UniversityAddress:
Student Wellness Centre
Li Ka Shing Library
#B1-44
81 Victoria Street
Singapore 188065

Opening hours:
(Mon – Thur) 9.30am-5.30pm
(Fri) 9.30am - 3.30pm

Contact: 6828 0786
Free for students
Polytechnics
Nanyang PolytechnicAddress:
Nanyang Polytechnic
180 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 8
Singapore 569830
Block A, Level 2

Opening hours:
(Mon – Thur) 8.30am-5.30pm
(Fri) 8.30am - 5pm

Call:
6550 0123

For first-time appointment booking of a Counselling Session
- Access the Appointment form
- Email [email protected]
Free for students
Ngee Ann PolytechnicAddress:
Ngee Ann Polytechnic
535 Clementi Road
Student & Alumni Services Office
Blk 22, Level 3

Opening hours:
(Mon – Thur) 8.30am-6pm
(Fri) 8.30am - 5.30pm

Call:
64606777

Hotline:
6460 6777
Republic Polytechnic (e-Counselling till further notice due to COVID)Address:
Republic Polytechnic
9 Woodlands Avenue
Singapore 738964
Block W1, Student Care Centre (SCC)

Opening hours:
(Mon – Fri) 8.30am-6pm (except public holidays)

Call/Whatsapp:
9770 4357
Singapore PolytechnicAddress:
Singapore Polytechnic
500 Dover Road
Singapore 139651

Opening hours:
(Mon – Fri) 8am-5.30pm

Apply here
Temasek PolytechnicAddress:
Temasek Polytechnic
21 Tampines Avenue 1
Singapore 529757
[email protected]
Blk 26B, Level 1, Unit 49

Opening hours:
(Mon – Fri) 8.30am-5.30pm (except public holidays)

Call:
6780 5959

4. Family Service Centres (FSC)

Family Service Centres (FSCs) are staffed by social service professionals who are based in the community to provide help and support to individuals and families in need.

You can visit these centres before deciding if you need more in-depth therapy by psychologists or psychiatrists.

Asian Women’s Welfare Association (AWWA)

Social workers and counsellors at AWWA work with families and individuals to help them cope with their challenges such as marital issues, family conflicts, family violence, financial difficulties and caregiver stress in various life stages.

Website

Family Service Centres Singapore (E.g. Fei Yue)

You can also walk in or book an appointment with Fei Yue and other organisations’ many family service centres.

You can find a comprehensive list of family service centres all around Singapore here.

5. Non-Profit Voluntary Social Service Organisations (SSOs)

There are also non-profit social service organisations (SSOs) providing support.

Shan You Counselling Centre

Shan You also provides professional counselling and social support services based on the principles of Compassion and Loving-Kindness, to the community regardless of race, religion or ability to pay.

An individual counselling session is about 50 to 60 minutes in duration while a couple/family counselling session is about 60 to 75 minutes in duration.

Individual Counselling services are charged at about $80 a session.

Couple/Family Counselling services are charged at $100 a session.

*A time surcharge of $20 is applicable for every additional 15-minute counselling time block. and an evening surcharge of $20 is applicable for every counselling session scheduled at or after 6PM onwards.

Also, you can apply for additional counselling fee subsidies (for session fees only and up to 6 counselling sessions) which are available and based on a financial assessment.

All applications for additional counselling fee subsidy will be considered on a case-by-case basis and subjected to approval at the sole discretion of Shan You Management.

Website

TOUCH Family Support

TOUCH provides counselling services primarily on pre-marital/marital issues, parenting challenges, domestic violence, emotional and mental distress as well as management of interpersonal relationships.

They charge about $80 to $100 per session with a subsidised rate available for individuals with a Household Per Capita Monthly Income below $2,800.

A surcharge of $20 applies for appointments outside office hours. Payment can be made in cash or via QR code payment.

Office hours are from Monday – Fridays, 9am – 6pm.

Address:
Block 162 Bukit Merah Central
#05-3545
Singapore 150162
Tel:
+65 6377 0122

6. Polyclinics and General Practitioners (GP)

Visiting a polyclinic or GP can analyse your health problems better and also give you subsidised professional treatment should you need more in-depth psychiatric help at hospitals.

To be a subsidised patient, you have to get a referral from a doctor at a polyclinic (consultations cost around $10.70) or GP.

Following that, you can get treatment at IMH which costs $40 for a first consultation if you are a subsidised patient and $37 for subsequent consultations.

You can book an online appointment here.

Mental Health Issues: Subsidies Available And How To Navigate Through The Financial Costs

If you are worried about the costs.

Do take a look at our guide to the subsidies available for mental health treatment:

For More Serious Cases

Also here are some places where you can seek more immediate help for mental health ailments.

Professional psychiatric from psychiatrists is available from institutions such as the Institute of Mental Health (IMH), General Hospitals like the National University Hospital (NUH) and so on.

It is also noteworthy that most places that provide counselling services have free trials or free first time sessions.

This may be a good way to see if you need more professional, medical help or if you should commit to a counsellor.

If you have any personal questions on mental health and the associated costs, why not head on over and post anonymously on Seedly.

The myriad of helpful advice given there is a testament to how you are not alone in this, and you can always seek help anytime.

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