The Real Cost Of Mental Health Treatment in Singapore

Sihan Chia

Sihan Chia

Last updated 18 October, 2022

What do Prince Harry, pop singer Billie Eilish, and local actress Jeanette Aw have in common? At some point of their very public lives, they have voiced out their struggles with mental health.  

While not everyone is comfortable doing the same, you may wonder if it’s a problem we should be concerned about in Singapore.

In a report from the COVID-19 Mental Wellness Taskforce, 8.7% of the 1,058 participants (majority of respondents were aged 21 to 49 years) met the criteria for clinical depression, while 9.4% met the criteria for anxiety. 9.3% met the criteria for mild to severe stress.

Among our youth, 1 in 3 of survey respondents displayed mental health symptoms. The results came from the Singapore Youth Epidemiology and Resilience Study, which was done across 3,336 young people aged 11 to 18 years old and published in May this year.

In 2021, a study reportedly showed that the number of youngsters between 10-24 years old diagnosed with depression had increased four-fold between 2013 and 2018. In Singapore, suicide is the leading cause of death for those aged 10-29, with 378 lives lost to suicide in 2021.

That said, there is a difference between mental health and mental disorders. The former refers to a person’s condition with regard to their psychological and emotional well-being, while the latter refers to health problems affecting how a person thinks, behaves and interacts with others.

Let’s take a look at the sources of help available here and the costs involved.

The costs of mental health treatment

It’s safe to say the pandemic took a toll on the mental health of many, if not most people.

In the IMH survey conducted during the pandemic, most respondents reported seeking help from their family doctors, counsellors and psychiatrists, with close to a third seeking out religious or spiritual advisors.

Source: Ministry of Health, COVID-19 mental health report

If you wish to speak to a trained professional, a psychologist could be helpful in listening to your concerns and guiding you through counselling.

For a psychiatrist consultation, it is usually referred by a polyclinic general practitioner (GP). For private psychiatrist consultation, the rates would be higher and a referral letter is not necessary.

One thing to note is that for polyclinic referrals, prescription-only and over-the-counter (OTC) medication is subsidised at any hospital pharmacy, while medication prescribed by a private psychiatrist will not be subsidised.

If you’re unsure of the type of services you need, speaking to a counsellor or psychologist could be a good first step.

Healthcare Provider


Raffles Counselling Centre

Consultation with a psychiatrist: From $278.20

Consultation with a Counsellor/ Psychologist: From $214.00

Alliance Counselling

S$256.80 to $278.20 for a 50-minute session

Counselling and Care Centre

S$180 per hour

Singapore Counselling Centre

S$180.00-S$208 per hour (before GST)

Shan You Counselling Centre

S$80 for individual counselling services

S$100 for couple/family counselling

For consultation and admission charges at the Institute of Mental Health, below are the various charges.

IMH charges (​​Outpatient Charges (effective from 1 September 2022)

Type of Service

Non-Subsidised Patients        

Subsidised Patients

ADULT (First Consultation)


Senior Consultant






Associate Consultant         




​S$103        ​


Medical Officer



Type of Service

Non-Subsidised Patients        

Subsidised Patients


(First Consultation)


Senior Consultant






Associate Consultant



Registrar        ​

S$118        ​


Medical Officer        

​S$92        ​


Inpatient Rates  (effective from 1 August 2022) Sayang Wellness Centre (Private)

Type of Service

Type of Accommodation




B1 4-bedded

Daily Ward Fee




Daily Treatment Fee




General Wards (Subsidised)

B2 4-6 bedded

C 8-12 bedded


Daily Ward Fee

Daily Treatment Fee






Observation Ward


Related to this topic: Feeling Down? Here Are 6 Top-Rated Mental Health Professionals Who Can Help

Mental health insurance in Singapore

While MediShield and Medisave offer some support for mental health expenses, some insurers have gone a step further.

For instance, AIA Beyond Critical Care is a critical illness insurance that covers premium refund on top of protection against 43 major stage critical illnesses (CIs).

Great Eastern has three plans that provide mental health coverage, including GREAT CareShield Advantage, Pay Assure, and GREAT Family Care Plan.

NTUC Income has two plans: The Lady 360 term-life plan which includes an outpatient psychiatric benefit, and a Early Secure Accelerator mental benefit rider to its Star Secure Pro life insurance plan.

The government is also exploring how to work with private insurers to make treatment affordable for Singaporeans.

Related to this topic: Mental Health Insurance: What Insurers Are Doing To Help Heal When You Need It Most

How to seek help

If you or someone you know is looking for help, you may consult a general practitioner who can do an assessment and refer you to a mental healthcare professional.

While mental health treatment is not cheap in Singapore, there are free resources that you can tap on before seeking professional help.

There are counsellors at family service centres (FSC) that you can call to make an appointment for consultation. In some cases, social workers may be involved.  

Subsidies for mental healthcare

To ensure Singaporeans are not denied access to treatment due to costs, the Singapore government has created MediFund in addition to Medishield and Medisave.

Medisave allows usage of up to S$150 per day for daily hospital charges (capped at S$5,000 annually), in the event of being warded for inpatient psychiatric episodes.

Outpatient treatment of schizophrenia, major depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety and dementia is subject to a 15% co-payment by the patient per claim.

Under MediShield Life claim, Singaporeans can receive up to 80% subsidies for their bills at public healthcare institutions for psychiatric treatments. Since 1 March 2021, the MediShield Life claim limits for inpatient mental health treatment have been raised to $160 per day for up to 60 days per policy year, from the previous $100 per day for up to 35 days per policy year

The Agency For Integrated Care also outlined inpatient and outpatient subsidies under Medisave for Chronic Disease Management Programme (CDMP). Conditions covered under the programme include dementia, and mental health conditions such as schizophrenia, major depression, bipolar disorder and anxiety.

Help is a call away

If you’re not ready for a face-to-face session with a therapist, you can always call a helpline which is manned by trained professionals and volunteers. If you need more than a listening ear, you will then be directed to other sources of help.  

  • National Care Hotline  1800 202 6868
  • Samaritans of Singapore (SOS): 1800-221-4444 (24 hours) /1-767 (24 hours)
  • Institute of Mental Health's Mental Health Helpline: 6389-2222 (24 hours)
  • Fei Yue's Online Counselling Service: website (Mon to Fri, 10am to 12pm, 2pm to 5pm)
  • Singapore Association for Mental Health: 1800-283-7019 (Mon to Fri, 9am to 6pm)
  • Silver Ribbon Singapore: 6386-1928/6509-0271 (Mon to Fri, 9am to 6pm)
  • Tinkle Friend: 1800-274-4788 (Mon to Fri, 2.30pm to 5pm)/ Tinkle Friend website (Mon to Thu, 2.30pm to 7pm and Fri, 2.30pm to 5pm)


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