Health Promotion Board extends mental health workshops to parents of secondary school children

SINGAPORE – Parents of secondary school students can tap a series of free online workshops to help enhance their children’s mental health come October.

Tender documents for the workshops, which are run by the Health Promotion Board (HPB) under the Colours Of The Mind initiative, were published on Aug 19.

In response to queries from The Straits Times, HPB said parents will be equipped with skills to boost their children’s mental well-being, social and emotional intelligence, as well as resilience.

The programme incorporates age-appropriate messages and activities, it added.

HPB will be working with schools and community partners to conduct the programme through online platforms.

The programme was introduced in 2013 for parents of children aged two to six, and was later extended to parents of primary school pupils.

The workshops will take up to 100 parents each, according to the tender documents. They will be run by two trainers with academic qualifications in early childhood education, counselling, psychology or social work.

The sessions will cover topics such as the importance of talking to children about emotions, how to guide them in managing their feelings, and how parents also need to care for themselves.

“There should be minimal, if at all, top-down lecture style,” the documents said about the interactive activities such as role-playing and group discussions.

The mental well-being of students has come into the spotlight recently.

Last month, a 13-year-old boy was killed in River Valley High School. A 16-year-old boy has been charged with murder, and is being held for psychiatric assessment.

Initial investigations found that the two did not know each other. It also emerged in court that the accused had tried to commit suicide about two years ago.

On July 27, Education Minister Chan Chun Sing said in Parliament that a society-wide effort is needed to prevent such tragic incidents from happening again.

Earlier, ST reported that young people struggling with mental health issues often fear that their parents will find out.

Experts said some parents think that such issues might be a stigma that could affect a child’s educational or job prospects.

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