Mental Health cover NEWER

The psychological fallout from COVID-19 and associated Circuit Breaker measures is a health problem that requires attention. Photo courtesy of the Singapore Psychiatric Association.

COVID-19 has created unprecedented stress and strain on global healthcare systems and world economies  and human psyches, too.

The threat to life and livelihood and the drastic changes to lifestyle have resulted in more incidences of domestic violence as well as calls to mental health hotlines in Singapore and around the world.

To help readers identify their feelings and get help, one group of Singapore doctors and healthcare professionals decided to do something. They produced an illustrated ebookCaring for our Mental Wellbeing during COVID-19. It is available for free.

President of the Singapore Psychiatric Association Dr Christopher Cheok, who was part of the team, said: “Besides the COVID-19 health issues, social distancing and economic impact would affect the mental health people in society.”

Currently, no national studies on the impact of the coronavirus on mental well-being in Singapore are available. But the trajectory shown by studies overseas does not bode well for the nation.

“What we want to encourage is mental health education, self-help – and turning to helplines when self-help is not enough,” said Dr Cheok.

The free ebook is a checklist of emotions and corresponding helplines based on the team’s assessment of the greatest concerns during this period.

Attractive cartoon-style illustrations make the ebook easy to understand.

Dr Cheok listed some of the psychological fallout of COVID-19 that require care: Anxiety and insomnia from health concerns. Social isolation. Adjusting to new living routines and work. Depression in some who have suffered greatly from the economic fallout, financial market losses and lack of job security. 

“Overseas, people have been impacted by deaths in loved ones. Fortunately, the number of deaths in Singapore has been very low.”

The free ebook puts an emphasis for caring for the elderly.

“The most vulnerable are the elderly. They are more likely to be socially isolated, may not be able to use technology for entertainment and communication, and they may feel more vulnerable to COVID-19.

“Also, they may not fully understand the need for the new measures that are put in place for social distancing. Things like SAFE Entry may also be a problem for some.”

Cartoon-style illustrations make the ebook easy to understand. 

“What we want to encourage is mental health education, self-help and turning to helplines when self-help is not enough.”

“We felt that pictures carry the message better than prose since the booklet is aimed at the general public.

“So far, we have had a good feedback from readers.” 

A team of doctors and mental health professionals contributed their expertise and time pro-bono after office hours to work on the project. Each one was responsible for one panel focusing on an area of mental health. 

The team found a sponsor to pay an illustrator for the cartoons. 

It took less than month to complete the ebook.

Explaining why everything fell neatly and quickly into place, Dr Cheok who is a Christian, said: “I think that when we want to do something for public good, people will step up and contribute.” 

The ebook is distributed via social media and is available on the Singapore Psychiatric Association website. Members of the public are encouraged to share it with their family and friends.

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National Care Hotline


Mental Well-being

  • Institute of Mental Health’s Mental Health Helpline


  • Singapore Association for Mental Health

1800 283 7019

  • Samaritans of Singapore




  • Touch Line

1800 377 2252 (daily, 10am – 10pm)

  • Youth Line

6336 3434 (Mon – Fri, 8.30am – 6pm)

  • Tinkle Friend (Primary School students)

1800 2744 4788 (Mon – Fri, 9.30am – 11.30am & 2.30pm – 5pm)

About the author

Christine Leow

Christine believes there is always a story waiting to be told. This led to a career in MediaCorp News scripting and producing news, current affairs programmes and documentaries. Christine is now a Senior Writer at Salt&Light. Her idea of a perfect day has to do with a big mug of tea, a bigger muffin and a good book.