NUS Psychiatry Symposium Day 1: The Emotional Challenges of Youth and Resilience Building

The NUS Psychiatry Symposium on Youth Mental Resilience topics took place on 26 April afternoon with Ms Sun Xueling, the Minister of State for the Ministry of Home Affairs & Ministry of Social and Family Development, as the Guest-of-Honor.

During the academic event, key findings from a nationwide study on the mental health status and resilience of young people, were unveiled. The event also served as a platform to introduce mental health professionals to clinical tools that enhance understanding and management of the challenges faced by youth. We were please to have a total of 287 event registrants from diverse backgrounds.

With a distinguished audience comprising of medical practitioners, healthcare workers, researchers, policy makers, social workers, school counselors, psychologists, therapists, university students and more, the symposium fostered a rich exchange of knowledge and experiences.

The event commenced with a warm welcome address delivered by the Centre Director of Yeo Boon Khim Mind Science Centre – Associate Professor John Wong, the Lin Jo Yan and Yeo Boon Khim Professor in Mental Health and Neuroscience.


Ms Sun, then took the stage to deliver an inspiring address to officiate the opening of the academic symposium. During her speech, she emphasized on the importance of building resilience in youth and highlighted the challenges they face in various domains of their lives. She called out the need for community programs to support the youths and raised that the community can work towards expanding the youths’ sources of confidence beyond academic achievements. Also, the government will also be looking at how better management of the use of digital media can positively contribute towards youths’ mental well-being. View the full script here.

For more information:

Lin Jo Yan and Yeo Boon Khim Professorship Lecture

Youth Resilience and Mental Health Challenges, lessons from the COVID Pandemic

A/Prof Wong, renowned for his expertise in youth resilience research and adolescents’ mental health challenges, presented the audience with the key findings of the nationwide Youth Epidemiology and Resilience (YEAR) study. As the data was collected prior to and during the COVID-19 pandemic, A/Prof Wong shared that the results allowed the research team to draw comparisons and shed light on the youth’s mental health status, providing valuable insights into their resilience amidst challenging circumstances.

Keynote Lecture

Youth Mental Health in Hong Kong: Challenges and response during the pandemic years and beyond

A notable highlight of the symposium was the keynote lecture delivered by Professoer Eric Chen, the Chi-Li Pa Foundation Professor in Psychiatry, Chair Professor and Clinical Professor at the Department of Psychiatry, The University of Hong Kong. With the presentation of research findings from the first population-based youth study in Hong Kong, HK-YES, Prof Chen provided a comprehensive understanding of different mental conditions and their associated factors among youth.

To further enrich the symposium, A/Prof John Wong, Prof Eric Chen, and Mr Gabriel Chan sat down for a panel discussion on stage, which was moderated by Associate Professor Daniel Fung, the Chief Executive Officer of the Institute of Mental Health.

Following a quick tea reception, the second session of the symposium resumed, featuring a series of presentations that introduced new clinical profiling tools designed to better understand and manage mental health challenges faced by youth.

The Validation of a Youth Resilience Scale (SYRESS) and the Asian version of the Adolescents Identity Development (AIDA): A National Study

Ms Natalie Yap emphasized the significance of resilience as a protective resource that aids individuals in bouncing back from life difficulties. Ms. Yap elaborated on SYRESS, a comprehensive tool developed in 2007 to measure and profile youth resilience in the local population. Additionally, she highlighted the adaptation of the AIDA into the local context, discussing its role in assessing identity development in adolescents and guiding effective interventions. Using identity development theories, the AIDA allows for clinicians to better identify various self-concepts that individuals struggle with, and can help to guide assessment and intervention.

Local Validation of the Patient Health Questionnaire for Adolescents (PHQ-A)

Asst Prof Sharon Sung, a distinguished Senior Clinical Psychologist from the Programme in Health Services and Systems Research at Duke-NUS, shared valuable insights into the validation of the Patient Health Questionnaire for Adolescents (PHQ-A). Her research focused on establishing local norms for the PHQ-A, enabling more accurate clinical interpretation of scores and enhancing the assessment process for mental health issues among adolescents.

Singaporean Norms for the Youth Self Report (YSR); results based on the YEAR Study

The Youth Self Report (YSR) is an established self-report measure of emotional and behavioral difficulties among adolescents aged 11-18. Mr Nabil Syukri Sachiman addressed the lack of contextualized norms for the Singaporean adolescent population despite being validated in a multitude of countries and translated into various languages. Having a local norm will provide clinicians with better clinical interpretation of scores, help guide the assessment process and inform potential diagnoses. The presentation showcased the utilization of data from the YEAR Study to derive local norms for the questionnaire and how they can be used in clinical practice.

Co-occurrence of Resilience traits and Psychopathology in Singapore Youth: A Latent Profile Analysis and the local application of the Dual-factor model of Mental Health

Through a person-centred approach using latent profile analysis, Dr Timothy Singham identified subtypes of individuals based on the interplay between resilience traits and psychopathology symptoms. The study’s findings have both theoretical implications for the Dual-factor model of Mental Health, particularly in the local Singaporean context, and practical implications for holistic assessments of youth psychological adjustment by incorporating positive mental health indicators.

The symposium concluded with a dynamic panel discussion featuring second session’s presenters, which was moderated by A/Prof John Wong. This engaging dialogue provided an opportunity for further exploration of the presented research and addressed pressing questions from the audience.

The Youth Symposium proved to be an enlightening and collaborative platform for professionals from various disciplines. With the key findings of the YEAR study officially disseminated, the symposium contributed to the advancement of knowledge and clinical tools to effectively address the mental health needs of Singaporean youths.


We will be updating this space with the symposium recording when it’s ready!

Check back in a few days’ time or simply follow us on Facebook to be notified when the symposium recording has been uploaded.

Event Gallery

Click HERE to view more photos of the event

News Coverage

Prior to the opening of the Youth Academic Symposium, a press briefing was organized in the morning to release the YEAR study findings to the media. The research has caught media interest and subsequently, we were featured on National News and various newspaper outlet. View the list below to find out more

  • The Straits Times

NUS study finds gap in parents’ understanding of mental distress as 1 in 3 youth reports symptoms

  • Lianhe Zaobao


  • Channel NewsAsia

One in 10 teenagers suffers from at least 1 mental illness: Study

  • 8World

本地研究:每十名青少年 有一人患至少一种精神疾病

  • TODAY Online

1 in 3 adolescents report depression, anxiety but only 10% of parents can spot mental health issues: NUS-led study

Singapore Youth Resilience Scale (SYRESS)

Know your resilience profile today! Mind Science Centre (MSC) developed the Singapore Youth Resilience Scale (SYRESS) as a tool to examine the resilience profiles of Singapore youths. The derived scoring in the respective domains allows us to gain insights into the areas the youths can build on to achieve a resilient mind. Find out more HERE!

Mind + Parent: Raising a Resilient Child

The new Mind Booklet succinctly summarized the key scenarios and strategies parents or caregivers can use in their daily interactions with their children, to instill positive coping methods from young. These strategies are based on MSC’s SYRESS, which is a validated profiling tool that detailed the key 10 domains of resilience building that youths can tap on to cope with and overcome life stressors. In another words, through the booklet, we empower the parents or the youths themselves to take active steps in developing positive coping strategies that will accompany the youths through life. Check out the booklet today!