In a written statement on February 6, 2017, the Minister of Defence for Singapore confirmed the use of psychological checks for soldiers who carry guns with live ammunition. He told Parliament that these checks are in place “to determine the psychological well-being of service personnel.” This continual evaluation of the Singapore Armed Forces personnel is crucial to ensure that the people handling live arms are mentally healthy.

Current Disclosure Requirements

The Singapore Armed Forces does medical screenings for all individuals enlisting in service. Each person is required to inform the SAF if he has an existing mental health condition or a record of mental health issues. The declaration of mental health status has to be endorsed by a guardian or parent as well. The SAF attempts to balance the enlistee’s privacy with the safety considerations associated with mental illness.

If an enlistee does disclose a pre-existing mental condition, that individual is sent to a Singapore psychiatrist or other mental health specialist. The specialist conducts additional evaluation to determine whether or not the person is mentally able to handle live arms and carry out the necessary duties of the position.

Vocational Assignments and Monitoring Based on Mental Health

Enlistees who do not pass the test may be reassigned to other areas of the service that do not require the bearing of firearms. They can still serve, but in a vocation that does not involve live ammo and weapons.

If a serviceman is diagnosed with a mental disorder, he is carefully monitored to ensure his competence and to maintain security for everyone. The SAF also provides counselling by a Singapore psychologist or psychiatrist if needed. Any service member, whether he has a history of mental problems or not, can call a 24-hour SAF hotline if he experiences emotional trauma, distress, or any other psychological issues.

The Responsibility of the SAF

Maintaining the good physical and mental health of the members of the Singapore Armed Forces is a huge responsibility. It is also a crucial factor in maintaining the trust of Singapore citizens, who rely on their military to defend them and to respond wisely in crisis situations. According to Dr Ng, the Minister for Defence, “the SAF will continue to periodically review and strengthen the mental health system, in consultation with the SAF Psychiatry Specialist Advisory Board, which comprises senior psychiatrists drawn from public healthcare institutions, to ensure that all our servicemen are able to discharge their duties and at the same time, to receive good emotional and mental health care.” His reassurances are timely, coming not long after the 2015 suicide of a serviceman at Sembawang Camp.

Mental Health Aid for Servicemen

If you’re looking for a top Singapore psychiatrist with the expertise necessary to help servicemen and women, call Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic. We provide support and counselling for people in all kinds of high-pressure situations, including NSF or NS men in military, police, or civil defence. Whether you’re experiencing post-traumatic stress, adjustment stress, depression, or other issues, our experienced Singapore psychiatrists and psychologists are ready to help. Call today to get the caring, confidential aid that you need to reclaim your mental health.

News Feed from Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic

Source: Channel News Asia, Feb 6 2017