PSY353e: students should listen to the podcast “Mental Health at Work”, facilitated by Dr. Emily Ortega and accessible: Positive Psychology Report, SUSS, Singapore

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University Singapore University of Social Science (SUSS)
Subject PSY353e: Positive Psychology

Part A: Academic Report

Before writing the Part A Academic Report, students should listen to the podcast “Mental Health at Work”, facilitated by Dr. Emily Ortega and accessible via

Essential Information for Review

The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines mental health as “a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and can make a contribution to her or his community”.

This definition emphasizes that mental health is more than the absence of mental illness (Gilmour, 2014). The podcast discussed the stigma of mental health in Singapore. The speakers examined the influence of social media on the social perception of mental health.

The panel acknowledged the growing awareness and conversations on mental health, especially among younger Singaporeans who are more comfortable in admitting that they may be suffering from a mental illness. The panel also discussed how we create space to engage the different touchpoints on mental health at the workplace.

According to the Singapore Mental Health Study, 13.9% of Singaporeans and permanent residents have experienced anxiety, mood, or alcohol abuse disorder in their lifetime (The State of Mental Wellness in Singapore, n.d.).

Ong et al. (2020) categorized stigma into two themes, (1) public stigma (i.e., negative beliefs and attitudes, social exclusion, over scrutinizing, and receiving excessive care and concern) and (2) structural stigma (i.e., the requirement to declare psychiatric conditions during job interviews, excluded from consideration after the declaration, and requirement of medical endorsements for employment).

The Singapore Association of Mental Health (SAMH) defines mental wellness as positive mental health (What is Mental Wellness, n.d.). As in WHO’s concept of mental health, mental wellness is more than the absence of mental illness.

Being mentally well means that our mind is in order and functioning in our best interest. A person with positive mental health think, feel, and act in ways that create a positive impact on their physical and social wellbeing. Mentally well people are positive, self-assured, and happy. They are in control of their thoughts, emotions, and behavior. Being in control enables them to handle challenges, build strong relationships and enjoy life.

Dunn’s (1961) concept of high-level wellness refers to states of optimal physical, mental, and emotional health. For Dunn, wellness is a state in which a person has a zest for life, a way of living that maximizes potential, a sense of meaning and purpose, a sense of social responsibility, and skills for adapting to the challenges of a changing environment.

Positive psychology has transformed the concept of positive health as excellence in three measures: biological markers [measures of physiological functioning], subjective experiences [measures of subjective well-being], and functional abilities [assessments of how well we accomplish daily activities] (Seligman, 2008, 2011). Positive health, therefore, enables people to adapt to challenges and move toward a better quality of life. This process is not just coping and adaptation but positive growth. O’Leary and Ickovics (1995) termed such a process psychological thriving.

Epel et al. (1998) expanded thriving to include enhanced psychological and physical functioning when we adapt to challenges creatively and acquire even more potent coping skills. This echoes the broaden-and-build model of positive emotions (Frederickson, 2009), which illustrates that dealing with challenges and stress help to build more effective psychological resources for the future.

The panel agreed that while there is an increasing awareness of mental health in Singapore, more could be done to address social stigma and manage early intervention strategies. Dr Emily Ortega concluded by saying that “It’s okay not to be okay”, that it is important to understand oneself, know one’s emotions and proactively navigate for support resources.

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