HealthServe serves workers with mental health issues


HealthServe, a health-focused migrant worker charity, is staging the play The Sound Inside by Singapore Repertory Theatre on April 17 to raise funds for the expansion of its chronic disease management and mental health services.

"The play highlights the challenges of being alone and what one person can do for another," said Ms Chan Chia Lin, chairman of HealthServe. "The challenge of solitude is similar to the experiences of many migrant workers in isolation in Singapore during the Covid-19 pandemic.

"We expect to raise $100,000. It will also be used to raise awareness about the migrant worker community and go towards HealthServe's budgeted expenditure of more than $2 million this year."

Established in 2006 by general medical practitioner Goh Wei-Leong and businessman Tang Shin Yong, HealthServe's aim is to enable every migrant worker to live with dignity.

It provides workers, primarily in the construction, marine and process sectors, with general and specialist medical care, dental treatments, rehabilitation, traditional Chinese medicine, mental health services and social assistance.

HealthServe has clinics in Geylang, Mandai and Jurong and casework centres in Geylang and Jalan Besar.

The Mandai and Jurong clinics are temporarily closed due to Covid-19 restrictions.

The support it gives to tens of thousands of migrant workers across various dormitories in Singapore every year is backed by 20 full-time staff, hundreds of volunteers and a large pool of donors.

It is a member of Project Dawn, the taskforce set up by the government to enhance the mental healthcare support for migrant workers.

"Mental distress has increased among the workers in recent months," said Ms Chan. "During the circuit breaker, we launched a Covid-19 microsite and an interactive chatbot in the workers' native languages to provide education, and emotional and mental health support services. We also provided virtual and face-to-face counselling.

"Many workers also face financial difficulties. We have continued to provide case work assistance, free meals, and social and rental assistance."

According to Ms Chan, HealthServe's chronic disease management service has seen a steady increase in demand since early last year.

"Migrant workers who have a chronic disease would typically not dare to go to the company doctor, or seek reimbursement for medication or treatment for the condition for fear of being repatriated," she said.

"Many used to obtain medication from home.

"With the global travel lockdowns, the supply logistics broke down. In treating workers for Covid-19, the doctors in the isolation facilities also found that some workers, who were previously not aware of their condition, had a chronic ailment.

"These doctors have referred their patients to us. Today, close to 50 per cent of visits to our Geylang clinic involve workers with at least one chronic medical condition, up from 25 per cent a year ago."

Last year, HealthServe attended to 5,851 medical and dental patient consultations and provided 5,372 free meals.

It supported about 5,400 workers in mental health training and activities and 560 in 262 counselling sessions.

The charity also engaged more than 3,400 workers through educational and morale boosting activities.

All donations toHealthServe are 250 per cent tax deductible. For more information, call 3157-4450 or visit


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