Those in social service must look out for one another: President

The Covid-19 pandemic has created an urgent need for young leaders in the social service sector to build a culture of looking out for one another and encouraging colleagues with anxiety or depression to seek help, said President Halimah Yacob yesterday.

She was speaking at the third edition of the National Council of Social Service's 40-Under-40 Young Leaders' Dialogue.

The three-day event, which ends today, is meant to empower young, promising leaders to work together to shape the sector's future as well as leverage on new-found connections to make changes in their agencies and the social service sector.

The participants are also interacting with and learning from, in closed-door dialogues, Minister for Social and Family Development and Second Minister for Health Masagos Zulkifli, Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin, National Youth Council chief executive David Chua and PSA International group chief executive Tan Chong Meng.

Madam Halimah noted that in the pursuit of serving Singaporeans and innovating, social service professionals should not forget about self-care, as their own mental health and welfare have to be cared for.

She said: "During the pandemic, social service professionals have been working tirelessly to ensure continuity of services to those who need help. With the increase in demand for social services, it is natural that some of our colleagues might experience anxiety and depression."

She called for them to look out for one another and encourage those who need help to seek the necessary services such as counselling. "As young leaders in the sector, I urge everyone to build this culture within your organisations," she said.

She noted that social issues were increasingly complex even before the pandemic, which has accelerated the changes.

To keep up, the sector has to change the way it operates and delivers its services. There also has to be a shift towards more collaboration in providing social services, Madam Halimah added. - THE STRAITS TIMES