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Singapore’s Crisis Management Services

The general definition of a crisis in the context of a psychological standpoint is often presented as “an emotional or physical response to some precipitating event or series of events that disrupts our normal day-to-day functioning.”( “Crisis Management,” n.d. P1). In simpler terms, when we come across a incident that causes our daily lives to be in disarray because of the way we are reacting to it, we define the event as a crisis. Not because of the severity of the crisis, but based on the perception of the situation. The establishment that the situation is a crisis only occurs when the victim views the situation in a negative light. Thus, as the name suggests, Crisis Management is generally recognized as the handling of crisis cases. The purpose of the various Crisis Management services is to restore balance to the individual affected by the crisis. It also aims to promote a healthier mindset for the individual so that they will be affected on a smaller scale the next time a crisis arises. In this essay, we take a look at the availability of local services that help to deal with Crisis Management in Singapore, and what ways they can be improved and developed.

Crisis Management Services are services which specialize in the handling of crisis cases. Crisis management services exist not only in the context of counseling and psychology but there are also services that help with emergency and immediate crises. This is because each crisis management service has its limitations as to what kind of crises it can actually bring about improvement to. Not all crisis workers are crisis counselors. For example, clinics and hospitals are well known crisis management services. All modern hospitals have an Accident and Emergency Department that deals with immediate crises that arise as a result of an accident.

Crisis Management Services are everywhere in Singapore. There is a huge variety of services in Singapore created to tackle the different sorts of crises. This is largely due to Singapore being a first world country which relies heavily on it’s tertiary industry. As aforementioned, there are many different types of crisis management services which serve different purposes. For example, the Samaritans of Singapore, abbreviated as the SOS, is a well known organization in Singapore for it’s suicide prevention hotline. Their mission, as stated on their home site, is to be an available lifeline to anyone in crisis (“Who we are,” n.d.). According to the Annual Report 12/13 of the Samaritans of Singapore organization (2013), from the period of April 2012 to March 2013, the hotline received a staggering 39,310 incoming calls. The hotline receives an average of 20 calls with suicide risk on a daily basis. This shows us how much crisis management services are actively being sought out by people in Singapore. As another example, we take a look at the Chinese Development Assistance Council (CDAC). According to the CDAC (2014), they are focused on helping 3 target groups – students, workers and faimlies through their various programs to attain greater social mobility. They strive to help to nurture and develop their educational and work skills of those who are less privileged.

Next, we will take a look at the availability of crisis management services in Singapore. Overall, there is no actual statistic as to how many of these services exist it Singapore. However, virtually every neighborhood, one would be able to find a crisis management service. Services such as clinics, hospitals, police stations are all placed around Singapore. There are 29 hospitals alone in Singapore,such as Alexandra Hospital or Mount Elizabeth Hospital ( “List of Hospitals,” 2012). If the sheer quantity of the crisis management services alone do not prove that crisis management services are readily available in Singapore, we take a look at how accessible these are. An easy way to access these services are to call a hotline. For crises that require medical attention for example, there are 29 ambulance hotlines, 19 of which are for private ambulances ( “Emergency Information,” n.d.). These hotlines – all 29 of them, operate on a 24 hours a day basis. In a psychological crisis, suicide hotlines and helplines also exist. As of today, 14 of these helplines are present in Singapore. These helplines cater to different people with different problems. Alcoholics Anonymous for example, as cited on its website, serves its main purpose of “staying sober and helping other alcoholics achieve sobriety.”(“What is Alcoholics Anonymous,” n.d.) Alcoholics Anonymous has a hotline and an email service to help those in crisis. As another example, the SOS, or the Samaritans of Singapore, is well known in Singapore for being the most notable suicide prevention hotline. Although it is widely known that the SOS has a hotline service, it also has other methods of crisis management such as email befriending and counseling services. As the evidence suggests, there is a large quantity of these services in Singapore which help to manage crises are readily available and easily accessible.

In the next part of the essay, we take a look into the availability of crisis management services in a specified environment. The environment that I have chosen is my neighborhood, Bukit Batok. If you walk to the nearby West Mall, you would find a clinic and a dentistry, and just 2 minutes away from that area, there is a polyclinic. There is a Bukit Batok Fire Station located in the neighborhood as well. As evidence suggests, from the quantity alone we can infer that crisis management services are actively available in Bukit Batok. There are varied and a large number of crisis management services in this area but we will be focusing on these two : the Fei Yue Family Service Centre at Bukit Batok, and the Bukit Batok Polyclinic. The Fei Yue Family Service Centre carries our services including counseling, adoption services, early intervention programs and guidance services for the youth. There are trained and competent counselors in the centre to help people who have difficulty in their lives. However, the Fei Yue Family Service Centre does not have a hotline, largely due to the fact that they cater to too many people with different problems. Unlike the Samaritans of Singapore or Alcoholics Anonymous, the Fei Yue Community Service organization does not specialize in a specified crisis. If people with all different problems call in, there would not be enough volunteers and the hotlines would be flooded. They do have a telephone number for queries and such, making it as accessible as possible. For their services, one would just have to go to their centre. The largest clinic in Bukit Batok is the Bukit Batok Polyclinic. It is easily accessible by bus, in fact, there are 11 bus services which lead to the polyclinic (“Bukit Batok Polyclinic,” 2013). It has 3 storeys to cope with the huge amount of patients that come in a day. Like all other services, it has a number that one can use to get in contact with the clinic.

Despite how well the aforementioned crisis management services seem to be, there are quite a few things that they can still improve on. For instance, the Bukit Batok Polyclinic should be open for a longer time. It is only open for 7 and a half hours a day during weekdays and closes in the late afternoon. On Saturdays it is open for only 4 and a half hours, and it is closed during Sundays and public holidays. Such a big clinic that most people would most likely go to if they are sick should be open for a longer duration. Furthermore, it is due to the short opening hours that the queues are so long. If you were to start queueing at 9am for example, you would get to see a doctor at only around 12pm. This was learnt from experience as it is the nearest and most affordable clinic in this neighborhood. This can be solved by adding more doctors to make the diagnosis and prescription process much more faster and efficient. To summarize, the enhancements that could be implemented is the increment of polyclinic’s opening hours and the employment of more doctors to make the the process faster. If these steps are implemented, the polyclinic would definitely be a greater force in the context of crisis management. The Fei Yue Community Service organization should have raise awareness of the services that they offer. I had no idea that this service was available in the neighborhood even before looking into the crisis management services in the area. This enhancement increases the target audience and thus it will enable more people to be helped. A improvement that I think that the Fei Yue Community Service can add is an email service. It can be automated or manned by people but I think they could use it to make their services more available to the general populace. In the world of electronics, this makes it much more convenient for people. Furthermore, some people who seek counseling may be afraid or have anxiety regarding making an appointment.

Overall, it is suggested that Singapore’s availability of crisis management services are rather high. There are different services that cater to different crises and the number of services continues to grow and Singapore’s economy continues to grow. This is because of the active and competitive workforce of Singapore. The workers cannot stop working and thus usually they seek out crisis management services to help them in times of need. All in all, we can conclude that Singapore has a impressive structure of crisis management services.

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