Much as we hate to admit it, the state of our mental health system is still far from perfect. This means that mental health services like therapy or counselling still won’t come cheap — and even if they are, acquiring a suitable therapist or counsellor (and they are not one and the same!) is still a tall order.
For those of us who don’t have the luxury of dropping a few hundred dollars per session, whether with a therapist, counsellor, or psychiatrist, fret not. We’ve compiled a list of free mental health resources for you to utilise.
What’s In a Name? Counselling vs Therapy
But before we dive right into the where and how, it’s important that we’re able to distinguish between these terms: counselling and therapy. They’re often used interchangeably but don’t actually mean the same thing.
Counselling typically deals with a currently ongoing problem or issue, and counsellors focus on solutions in the short-term to tackle it. A counsellor is not primarily tasked to create a psychological sketch of you who are, but to help you overcome whatever difficulty you’re facing at present.
Therapy, on the other hand, is a process carried over the medium- to long-term and may be more suited for interrogating deep-seated issues, personal history, and trauma. Where counselling helps you overcome a current problem, therapy sets you on a journey of constant self-knowledge and self-management.
Free Resources for Counselling in Singapore
Here’s a list of places to go for free (or reasonably affordable) counselling:
- Family Life Society (FLS), a non-religious not-for-profit organisation that offers counselling to people regardless of race and religion, with a focus on family and parenting issues.
- Most churches in Singapore offer free counselling, and some may even offer non-religious counselling, such as Wesley Methodist Church
Counselling helplines are toll-free, and are particularly suitable for those who don’t want to commit to in-person, face-to-face sessions. Note that it’s possible to enquire about therapy or psychiatry as well and be pointed in the right direction via these helplines.
|Organisation||Helpline / Contact Info||Area of Focus|
|Care Corner Counselling Centre||1800-353 5800||Mandarin counselling helpline|
|Association of Muslim Professionals(AMP)||6416 3960||Marital/family/financial issues|
|Fei Yue eCounselling Centre||[email protected]||Youths|
|Samaritans of Singapore||1800-221 4444|
|National Addictions Management Service||6732 6837||All kinds of addiction|
|Singapore Association for Mental Health||1800-283 7019||Helpline for all mental health needs (including students)|
|Eagles Mediation and Counselling Centre||6788 8220||Mental health issues|
|Tinkle Friend (Singapore Children’s Society)||1800-274 4788|
(Mon – Fri, 2.30pm – 5pm)
|Primary school children|
Are There Free Mental Health Resources for Therapy?
Pro bono therapy services appear to be few and far between for the moment, but here are some free mental health services that offer assessment for those who are still on the fence, or unsure of what they’re going through.
Post-assessment, you may get a referral to a therapist and a chance to discuss your financial needs in depth before being recommended to a professional.
|CHAT (for youths aged 16-30)||https://www.chat.mentalhealth.sg/|
|Silver Ribbon||6385 3714|
EDIT: One can also go to Family Service Centres located all over Singapore in various neighbourhoods and towns as well as MindCare, a community mental health service that provides mental health services (psychotherapy and counselling included) to residents in the following areas:
- Ang Mo Kio
- Sin Ming
Lastly, the Singapore Association for Mental Health also provides F2F counselling and therapy and is not just limited to their toll-free hotline!
This resource list is certainly not exhaustive; if there are places we’ve missed out on, don’t hesitate to reach out to us and let us know!
The most important thing at the end of the day is our mental health. These resources may not be absolute — and we’d like to highlight that they’re not always a guaranteed 100% fit for every person — but it’s a good place to start seeking out help if we need it. Remember: you’re not alone!
This article has been updated as of 1 Nov 2020.