Work & Wellbeing Marketing & the Marginalized Mental Health

Workers in Singapore and the Philippines the most stressed in South East Asia


By Shawn Lim | Reporter, Asia Pacific

November 1, 2021 | 4 min read

People living in South East Asian countries such as Singapore and the Philippines do not handle stress well and find living in their countries stressful.


Respondents in Singapore (67%) are averse to reaching out for help

Singapore and the Philippines top the list among the six SEA countries, with respondents agreeing that it is stressful living in their countries, followed by Malaysia (61%), Thailand (59%), Indonesia (51%) and lastly Vietnam (42%), according to a Milieu Insight survey as part of its ‘Milieu for Good’ program.

The survey, which polled 1,000 respondents, also found that across the six countries, respondents from Singapore (20%) and the Philippines (15%) felt that they do not handle stress well. On the other hand, more than half of respondents from Indonesia and Vietnam felt that they were good at doing so.

“If left unchecked, stress can take a significant toll on our mental health. I can personally attest to that. It is important that we band together to find ways to help the broader community deal better with stress,” said Gerald Ang, co-founder and chief executive officer at Milieu Insight.

“I hope the insights from this study can provide a sense of comfort to those feeling the burden of stress on their mental health that they are not alone in dealing with these challenges. Employers also need to recognize that chronic stress and its related illness caused by a poor working environment can be as serious as a physically unsafe environment.”

He added: “This collaboration is the first of many that we will be doing under our ‘Milieu for Good’ program. We do hope to help more social organizations uncover insights that will make a positive impact on our community.”

What are the survey’s findings?

  • 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.

  • There also seems to be a 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.

  • Across SEA, the study found that about nine in 10 say that they would agree to help their colleagues with work, even if they are already busy.

  • In the Philippines, 87% of respondents would reach out for help and 97% indicated that they would help their colleagues even if they are busy.

  • However, most respondents who are stressed did not seek help as they did not want to be a burden to anyone.

  • Financial situations, personal relations, responsibilities and work/study commitments were generally the top factors of stress, but for the Philippines traumatic experiences were also a top factor. Interestingly, for Singapore self-confidence was also a high-stress factor.

  • Although more than two-thirds of respondents say that they proactively care about their mental health, they do not seem to lend the same amount of importance to stress.

  • Aside from Vietnam and Malaysia, 53% in Singapore and close to half of the respondents in Indonesia (49%), Thailand (49%) and the Philippines (46%) are willing to seek professional help only after stress gets too overwhelming.

Work & Wellbeing Marketing & the Marginalized Mental Health

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