From March 2011, the REACH (West) team will serve 90 schools in the west school zone. The team is made up of psychologists, medical social workers, occupational therapists and nurses from the Department of Psychological Medicine, National University Hospital.
REACH was started in 2007 as a programme under the National Mental Health Blueprint, serving the mental health needs of children and adolescents of school-going age. The programme has been progressively rolled out in the north, south and east school zones, led by the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) in collaboration with the Ministry of Education (MOE), voluntary welfare organisations (VWOs), family doctors and the National Council of Social Services (NCSS).
The REACH teams work primarily with MOE school counsellors and VWOs for early identification, support and intervention for children and adolescents with emotional and behavioural difficulties and related mental health problems in primary and secondary schools and junior colleges. The teams provide training, support and helpline assistance to the school counsellors to identify and support these students aged 19 years and below. The teams also work with general practitioners in the community on the diagnoses and management of emotional and behavioural difficulties as well as related mental health problems.
Associate Professor John Wong, Programme Director, REACH (West) at NUH says, “The REACH (West) programme is a component of the strategic partnership between the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health in school-based mental health promotion. Implemented by the National University Hospital and Institute of Mental Health, it is an important extension of community-based mental health support and care for our school children and teenagers in the western school zone of Singapore. This strategic programme testifies to the commitment of the partners investing in resources to provide our school children and their teachers with quicker access to mental health support and clinical services when required. More importantly, the focus on promoting emotional and mental well being will provide greater reach for the excellent school-based programmes MOE already has in place. We hope the new network will grow to reach the hearts and minds of children and adolescents, helping them to achieve greater emotional and mental well being!”
For more information on REACH (West), please click here.