‘Are Women at Higher Risk of Mental Illness’ Webinar Highlights: 8 June 2023

08 June Webinar TTS Photo

In this edition of Yeo Boon Khim Mind Science Centre’s (MSC) key event – Tow Tiang Seng Distinguished Lecture Series, we focused on women’s mental health. Our keynote speaker – Dr Rathi Mahendran presented the gender-related key findings from the Community Health Intergenerational (CHI) study. The CHI study is the first research in Asia with a team that includes specialists from various fields such as psychiatry, cardiology, dentistry, orthopaedics, speech and language, pharmacy and more.

Adding to the information-packed presentation by A/Prof Mahendran, we heard two other insightful sharing by Associate Professor Wong Mun Loke and Professor Kua Ee Heok. A/Prof Wong covered the topic of ‘Dental Health and Mental Health’, while Prof Kua introduced a perspective of parenting styles on ageing and caring.

The 1.5 hours signature event on 8 June concluded with a great attendance of 413 webinar audience.

We would like to express our gratitude to Mr Tow Heng Tan and his family, for establishing the Tow Tiang Seng Distinguish Lecture series, in memory of his Father, to advance the knowledge and science of mental wellness.

Watch the full recording to find out more!


‘Are Women at Higher Risk of Mental Illness?’ by Dr Mahendran

  • Women are twice as likely as men to be affected by depression. biological factors (such as hormonal changes), and social factors (isolation and poverty) are thought to be potential causes.
  • As age increases, so does the risk of dementia; as women have a higher life expectancy they are more likely to be diagnosed.
  • CHI study was a comprehensive investigation of the health profile of a cohort of older adults, which aimed at building a biopsychosocial model of how one can age in place.
  • It was found that a much higher percentage of females showed symptoms of non-amnestic mild cognitive impairment (MCI) than males, for both single and multiple domains.
  • Physical Strength, Balance, Speed and Coordination were poorer in older women. Physical Activity levels were also lower.
  • Females reported significantly lower levels of Social Connectedness, Satisfaction with Areas of Life and Quality of Life than males.
  • A 3-year follow-up study showed that none of the female participants who exhibit MCI deteriorated to full Dementia. Greater exposure to psychosocial activities and feelings of gratitude could have helped to mitigate the cognitive decline. But notably, females still experience more depressive and anxiety symptoms during the follow-up study.
  • In conclusion, women are at risk of mental illness, but the study suggests that it is only in particular for older women. With active interventions and appropriate measures, we can mitigate some of these risks. For older women, where cognition and physical health are of concern, interventions with cognitively stimulating activities and physical exercises can be of great help.


View the lecture segment by using the respective time marks indicated in the YouTube video description.

‘Dental Health and Mental Health’ by A/Prof Wong

·       With good oral health, we will be able to smile, speak, chew, taste, swallow and convey emotions to others. More importantly, this has to be done with confidence and without pain, discomfort and disease.

·       Oral health is an important component for our overall quality of life, particularly physical and mental wellbeing.

·       Even though there is no definitive conclusion that poor oral health is associated with poor mental health, poor oral health in the form of missing teeth and gum disease could potentially highlight possible risk factors for compromised cognitive function.  


View the lecture segment by using the respective time marks indicated in the YouTube video description.

‘Parenting, Ageing and Caring’ by Prof Kua

  • In a study by Sage Centre for the Study of Ageing, it was that 82% of the seniors’ preferred place of living and dying is at their own home or with their family.
  • There are ongoing studies on how family bonding, community support and community services (i.e. day care) can help with ageing in place.
  • There are different styles of parenting, namely Positive, Authoritative, Authoritarian and Permissive. The styles of parenting may have an impact on the type of family care given and subsequently the way of ageing in the golden years.
  • However, there is no correlation between parenting styles and whether the elderly lives with the family.
  • Healthy seniors can be a resource of human capital and senior volunteerism can help the community to engage in active ageing, bond through social befriending with interconnected care and support.
  • In conclusion, family care, community care and community services are important factors contributing to ageing in place.


View the lecture segment by using the respective time marks indicated in the YouTube video description.


AWE Homepage:

AWE E-Learning Portal:

MSC Donation link:


The Tow Tiang Seng Distinguished Lecture Series brings internationally and nationally eminent and respected thought leaders to speak on issues of key importance to developing mental resilience across all ages. Established in 2019, the lecture supports Mind Science Centre’s mission to innovate mind health with biological and social science through translational research in the community to build an undefeated mind. From businessmen and scientists to political figures and celebrities, each event is unique and designed to inform, inspire new ideas and spark collaborative interest. The lecture series is made possible by the generous donation of Mr Tow Heng Tan, in honour of his father – the late Mr Tow Tiang Seng. It is held annually and open to anybody with an interest in mental health to attend.


Dr Rathi Mahendran

A/Prof Rathi Mahendran is an Associate Professor at the Department of Psychological Medicine, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, NUS and Senior Consultant Psychiatrist at NUH. She is also a member of the Mind Science Centre Advisory Board. Her interests are in psychopharmacology and medical education. Some of Dr Rathi’s notable achievements include the Distinguished Psychiatrist Award by Singapore Psychiatric Association, awarded in 2016.

Prof Kua Ee Heok

Tan Geok Yin Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, Dept of
Psychological Medicine, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, NUS

Prof Kua is the Vice Chairman of Mind Science Centre, Emeritus Consultant at National University Hospital, and in private practice at Mind Care Clinic, Farrer Park Medical Centre. He graduated as a doctor from the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur and received his postgraduate training in Psychiatry at Oxford University and Geriatric Psychiatry at Harvard University. A member of the WHO Research Team for the Global Study of Dementia, he was previously the Head of Department of Psychological Medicine at NUS, and CEO & Medical Director at the Institute of Mental Health, Singapore. His research interests are ageing, depression and psychotherapy, having published over 350 research papers on dementia, depression and alcoholism, and written over 30 books on psychiatry, stress and ageing.

A/Prof Wong Mun Loke

Acting Dean, Faculty of Dentistry, National University of Singapore

A/Prof Wong is presently the Acting Dean of the Faculty of Dentistry at the National University of Singapore.  Concurrently, he oversees the planning, management and operationalisation of the Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) programme as Vice Dean (Academic Affairs). As a specialist in Dental Public Health, A/Prof Wong is also the Director, Discpline of Primary Dental Care and Population Oral Health in the Faculty.  He works closely with his other Dental Public Health and general dental practitioner colleagues to drive initiatives to improve population oral health through education, research and clinical services. Beyond the undergraduate programme, A/Prof Wong’s interest in Geriatric Dentistry led him to assume an active role in the conceptualisation, planning and implementation of a new Graduate Diploma in Geriatric Dentistry launched in 2019. Regionally, Mun Loke is a Council Member of the South East Asia Dental Education Association.Mr Abdullah Tarmugi

We hope you enjoyed this webinar, and we look forward to seeing you again. Yeo Boon Khim Mind Science Centre has shared the video for educational purposes, in line with our goals to share knowledge and benefit the community. Please do not replicate the videos or slides without permission.

For more information and free online mental health resources, sign up for our mailing list HERE

Follow us on Facebook for more free mental health resources!