Majority of Singaporeans still struggling with their mental health

| 19 Apr 2021

According to findings from a new study by AIA Singapore on the state of Singaporeans' health at the one-year mark since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, fears over income loss and job instability caused 91% of respondents to report declines in their mental health.

Around 60% of respondents are also deeply concerned about the added burden of other critical illness diagnosis such as cancer.

“While our nation is heading for a post-pandemic recovery, mentally, we are still trying to navigate our way out of COVID-19 uncertainties. It is not enough to only take care of our physical health,” said AIA Singapore CEO Wong Sze Keed.

The study, AIA Health Matters Survey 2021, polled over 300 Singaporeans aged 30 to 55 across a spectrum of working adults that is representative of the resident population.

It also found that Singaporeans are feeling anxious about their family’s and loved ones’ overall wellbeing, adding to the stress they have been dealing with throughout the pandemic.

The past year saw an increase in diagnosis concerns for critical illnesses (+10% compared to 2016), with cancer being the most pressing concern (73% are worried). There has also been a substantial increase in stroke concerns, from 60% in 2016 to 68% in 2021. Amongst mental health conditions, anxiety and major depressive disorders were revealed to be the most prevalent.

The study also highlighted how different segments of the working population are coping with mental health challenges and critical illness worries:

  • Majority of the male respondents who are breadwinners stated that they are more likely to report when they are facing mental health and critical illness conditions compared to women.
  • Millennials (aged 30-39) reported higher stress coping with daily stressors at work as compared to pre-retirees (aged 40 and above).
  • Millennials aged 30 to 39 are especially worried (81% of them) about cancer compared to older adults.

Furthermore, AIA Singapore’s insights on Singaporeans’ ownership of critical illness plans revealed that mental health stigma still exists in society, which may stand in the way of ensuring adequate protection.

Because of this stigma, while insurance plans with mental health coverage are available in the market, only 18% reported that their critical illness plans or riders include mental health coverage. Among the different demographic groups surveyed, men and millennials are more willing to take up more extensive insurance plans such as those that include mental health coverage.

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