What is the cost for private and public treatment of depression in Singapore?
My mood has been very low for a few years and it's to the point I'm passively-suicidal and antisocial. It is very hard for me to muster up the courage to seek treatment so I would like to know more about the costs involved in getting depression treated in Singapore, in both the private and public healthcare sector. Thank you.
If you have concerns about cost of treatment, the best way is to seek treatment at the polyclinic and from there get referred to a restructured hospital for further attention. If you are suicidal, the attending doctor can help you get an early appointment. There are social workers at the restructured hospital and they will look into your financial situation and apply for the assistance that you need.
You can also seek treatment from a family physician who can diagnose your condition and then start you on an antidepressant. If you choose to seek treatment from a private psychiatrist, then you can call up the clinic and talk to the clinic staff who can advise you on the consultation charges. For a person who has a first episode of major depression, he/she would most likely need to take an antidepressant for about 6 to 9 months. The cost of the medication largely depends on the type of antidepressant that is chosen. In some cases, the cost of the medicine can be as low as $30 a month.
Some patients while awaiting their appointment at the restructured hospital may seek treatment from a private psychiatrist in the interim period. If that is the case, do let your private psychiatrist know about your intention to be treated at the restructured hospital, so that he can start you on an antidepressant that is readily available at the restructured hospital.
Thank you for posing your question for the benefit of everyone.
It can be difficult to answer your question because it really depends on many things.
Cost really shouldn't be your only concern in seeking treatment. It really isn't shopping.
You should start by seeking the advice of your trusted GP if you have one.
Some GPs like us are more trained in mental health problems, there are a few of them out there, and they probably are the first you might want to ask first for advice.
Depending on the severity of your condition, if you only require treatment from a GP with special interest in mental health, and he/she is willing to get you sorted out, I believe that would be the most cost effective for you. But price wise, a GP consultation probably would set you back $20-50.
If you really have a depression that can be diagnosed, some clinics might be able to claim medisave and if you are really poorly, you might even have a health assist card that can help with further subsidies.
The next cheaper option might be to get a referral from a polyclinic to see a psychiatrist at the government hospitals. Polyclinic visit $20. Specialist visit: $40-60.
Medication prices vary depending on what you need, the prices can be the same at some GP clinics and the hospital due to some special arrangements. But hey, you might not even need medications.
Some patients might benefit more from psychotherapy, or "talk therapy", the effects of this treatment usually lasts way longer than medications. So although the costs up front might be more, over the long term, it could actually be more cost effective to see a psychologist.
Of course you also can see a private psychiatrist, some of them are really good.
As you can see, it is starting to get very very complicated and this is just the surface.
I would advise you to stick to these options. The "others" might have higher chances of making you feel worse than before you started. Take care.