Oral Answer to PQ on TMW Workplace Mental Wellness
NOTICE PAPER NO. 1963 OF 2023 FOR THE SITTING ON OR AFTER 4 JULY 2023
QUESTION NO. 4663 FOR ORAL ANSWER
MP: Mr Edward Chia Bing Hui
To ask the Minister for Manpower in light of the recently formed Interagency Taskforce on Mental Health and Well-being (a) how is the Taskforce currently measuring mental wellness in the workplace; and (b) whether the Taskforce will make recommendations on ways in which employers can foster a positive work atmosphere to strengthen support for mental well-being at workplaces.
Measuring mental well-being in the workplace is not straightforward as mental well-being is a continuum, ranging from normal to at-risk to being diagnosed with a mental health condition. There are also multiple factors that can affect an employee’s mental well-being. To support organisations in assessing their employees’ state of mental well-being and identifying workplace stressors, the Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Institute under the Ministry of Manpower, in partnership with the WSH Council, Institute of Mental Health, Health Promotion Board and Changi General Hospital, introduced the iWorkHealth tool in 2021. This is a free online, self-administered tool, comprising validated psychosocial tools and scales that have been tested to ensure reliable results.
2 Based on iWorkHealth data collected in 2022 from a relatively small sample of around 11,500 employees, one in three employees was found to have experienced work stress or burnout from work. We will need to expand the usage of iWorkHealth and monitor the trend over time in order to draw meaningful insights from these numbers. We are working with Tripartite Partners, including Trade Associations and the Singapore National Employers Federation, to promote the use of the iWorkHealth tool. I urge all employers to tap on iWorkHealth to assess and strengthen your employees’ mental well-being.
3 The Government set up the Interagency Taskforce on Mental Health and Well-being in 2021 to oversee the development of a national overarching mental health and well-being strategy. The taskforce, which comprises representatives from tripartite partners and mental well-being experts, has developed five preliminary recommendations relating to employment support for persons with mental health conditions and improving mental well-being in workplaces. These recommendations range from improving mental well-being support systems and work-life harmony strategies for all employees to improving employment support services, training and job opportunities for persons with mental health conditions. To foster a positive work atmosphere and reduce the stigma associated with mental health, the Taskforce will be partnering employers and senior management to increase awareness and adoption of mental health resources, and enhance support networks and assistance, such as through the Employee Assistance Programmes.
4 The Taskforce is refining these recommendations, following our extensive public consultation conducted last year. We aim to release the National Strategy for mental health and well-being by the end of this year