More than nine in 10 (91%) of Singaporeans have said that their mental health has declined since the COVID-19 pandemic began more than a year ago, according to a study by AIA.
Fears of income loss and job instability were revealed as the main causes of the decline. Furthermore, around 60% of respondents said they were “deeply concerned” about the added burden of other critical illness diagnoses such as cancer.
The 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, the insurer said.
Respondents’ concerns for critical illness also grew by 10% compared to 2016. Cancer (73%) and stroke (68%) were the most pressing concerns among Singaporeans. Mental health conditions such as anxiety and major depressive disorders were also major issues. Singaporeans expressed worry not only for their own health, but also for the health and well-being of family and loved ones.
A 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 are also more worried about cancer than older adults.
“While our nation is heading for a post-pandemic recovery, mentally, we are still trying to navigate our way out of COVID-19 uncertainties,” said Wong Sze Keed, CEO of AIA Singapore.
“It is not enough to only take care of our physical health. This conviction drives our holistic approach to protect the many aspects of our customers’ wellbeing – such as financial, physical, and mental health – to enable everyone to truly lead healthier, longer, better lives.”
In 2019, AIA launched its Beyond Critical Care product, a critical illness plan that includes coverage for five prominent mental illnesses: major depressive disorder, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and Tourette syndrome (up to age 21).