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Jan 2022

Southeast Asia is highly stressed

Source: Asia Insurance Review | Dec 2021

Singaporeans (81%) and Filipinos (78%) top the list of most stressed people in the six Southeast Asian countries according to a new survey conducted by mili.eu, the opinion-based insights platform and Calm Collective Asia, a community for good mental health in Asia.
Singapore and the Philippines were followed by Malaysia (61%), Thailand (59%), Indonesia (51%) and Vietnam (42%) where the respondents agree that it is stressful to live in their countries.
The survey included 1000 respondents from each of the country and was conducted to understand their sentiments towards stress on their mental health and their views on seeking help.
Milieu co-founder and CEO Gerald Ang said, “COVID-19 has changed our lives in many ways. While people deal with fundamental changes to their work, family life and social interactions, it is not surprising that the level of stress is high across the region.”
The survey revealed that people don’t seek help when faced with overwhelming stress primarily because they don’t want to burden others around them, and neither do they know what others can do to help them. In addition, stress seems to be perceived as a personal problem that can be handled alone by sheer willpower.
Mr Ang said, “If left unchecked, stress can take a significant toll on our mental health. It is important that we band together to find ways to help the broader community deal better with stress.”
Calm Collective Asia co-founder Sabrina Ooi said, ‘’There’s no way to completely avoid stress in our daily lives, as there are many things that ‘happen’ to us and are out of our control, however, we can develop a healthier relationship with stress.”
The survey revealed that respondents in Singapore (67%) are averse to reaching out for help and turning down extra work, even if they already have enough on their plates. Respondents in Singapore also seem to be in fear of offending others at work, with only 62% saying that they think their colleagues or bosses would be accepted if they were to turn down additional work assigned to them.
The feeling of camaraderie across Southeast Asia is, however, encouraging with nine in 10 respondents saying that they would agree to help their colleagues with work, even if they are already busy. However, most respondents who are stressed did not seek help as they did not want to be a burden to anyone.
More than two-thirds of respondents say that they proactively care about their mental health, however, they do not seem to lend the same amount of importance to stress. Aside from Vietnam and Malaysia, 53% in Singapore and 49% in Indonesia and Thailand and 46% in the Philippines (46%) are willing to seek professional help only after stress gets too overwhelming. A 
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