Community Outreach Teams and Community Resource Engagement and Support Team
Left on their own, clients and their caregivers may not recognise the signs and symptoms of mental health conditions or know where to seek help, and may delay treatment. Learn how Community Outreach Teams, or CREST – Community Resource Engagement and Support Teams, can help such families.
What Does CREST Do
The Community Resource, Engagement and Support Team (CREST) is a community outreach team that serves as a community safety network for people with and/at risk of depression, dementia and other mental health conditions. It also supports their caregivers with resources they need to continue to care for their loved ones at home and in the community.
In your neighbourhood, you can approach the Community Outreach Teams which are driven by the social service agencies. Other than raising public awareness of mental wellness, the Community Outreach Teams (CREST) provide screening to promote the recognition of early signs and symptoms of mental health conditions at your home.
If you need a listening ear for emotional support or need help to be linked up with other services, they will be able to support you.
How The Programme Supported Mr And Mrs Chan
71-year-old Mr Chan, a former admin worker, stays with his wife and two children. He has dementia and chronic medical conditions such as hypertension, nose cancer and hypopituitarism.
Due to his condition, he is always confined at home and hardly goes out to socialise. Due to his hearing impairment, he tends to talk loudly which embarrasses his wife. Over time, his wife experienced caregiver burden and lacked confidence in communicating with her husband. During a home visit by a Silver Generation Ambassador, Mrs Chan shared her problem and was referred to a nearby CREST team.
The CREST team invited Mrs Chan to participate in the centre’s social and music activities where she found an opportunity to interact with other people. Mr Chan accompanies her to these events and socialises with other seniors at the centre.
Today, Mr Chan can be seen happily socialising with other elderly at the centre and he has become more cheerful. This has eased Mrs Chan’s caregiver burden. She has also learnt self-care methods to manage her caregiver stress.
Find a CREST provider near you using this list.
The Caregiver Community Outreach Team, also known as the Community Resource, Engagement & Support Team (CREST)-Caregivers, focuses on caregivers who have or are at risk of developing depression, anxiety and burn-out due to their caregiving role. The team increases public awareness of caregiving concerns and promote identification of caregiver needs. The team also supports caregivers in self-care through health and wellness activities, stress management and future planning. Caregivers are linked up with support groups and counselling services where needed.
Ms Goh was caring for her 89 years old mother who had cancer and dementia. During the final year of cancer, her mother’s physical condition affected her mental clarity which resulted in dementia. She threw tantrums like a child and kept accusing the helper of stealing her money and clothes, which caused Ms Goh to change 4 migrant domestic workers over a span of 3 years. Her mother refused to sleep at night and kept insisting to go out which disturbed the neighbours. It also affected her rest as she kept receiving late night calls to settle the problem. This has taken a toll on her mental well-being.
How the Programme Supported the Caregiver
Noticing how burnt out Mrs Goh was, Mrs Goh’s daughter recommended her to the Caregiver Community Outreach Team who taught Mrs Goh on the importance of self-care. She learnt how to empathise with her mother in her situation and improve the communication between them. She eventually took a short break and went for an overseas trip to relax and rejuvenate before she returned to take care of her again. Mrs Goh learnt the importance of taking care of her own wellness, and learnt to go for occasional breaks even though it was not easy for her to let go.
She now feels more confident in taking care of her mother and it has made her more calm and patient when dealing with her.
Other caregivers may be experiencing similar challenges or stress, you can learn from them through their caregiving stories here.
Youth Integrated Team (YIT)
The Youth Integrated Team (YIT) increases awareness of mental wellness through targeted outreach to youth at risk of mental health issues. It provides assessment, therapeutic intervention and case management while engaging youth for ongoing monitoring and support.
The team facilitates the formation of supportive relationship with family and peers, and works actively with other youth agencies, schools and community partners to provide holistic case management for the youths and their families.
The youth integrated team is one of the programmes under the Community Mental Health Masterplan developed by the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC), together with the Ministry of Health (MOH), which enables persons living with mental health issues and dementia to seek early treatment nearer to their homes and ensure that they are well-supported in the community.
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