Well-being during NS

Last updated 30 April 2024

What you need to know

  • Your son or ward will face a period of transition and it is normal for him to have adjustment challenges in the first few weeks of National Service (NS).
  • During basic training, your son or ward will be paired with a buddy for peer support and his commanders will also conduct routine interviews to check-in on him.
  • As part of basic training, your son or ward will be taught to recognise signs of distress, know the various avenues of support, and learn how to manage stress and overcome challenges as he gradually builds up his psychological resilience.
  • The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) and Singapore Police Force (SPF) have zero tolerance towards illegal acts such as drug abuse, vaping, and drink-driving.

How you can support your son or ward

  • Engage your son or ward, find out about his NS experience, encourage him to share his feelings and lend a listening ear when necessary.
  • Be aware of common issues and signs to look out for that your son or ward is not coping well and needs additional help.
  • If you have any concern, feel free to speak with your son or ward’s commanders, or contact professional counsellors and dedicated helplines.

Supporting your son or ward

Your son or ward will learn to adjust to a new environment and make new friends from diverse backgrounds. Family support during National Service (NS) is important to your son or ward, so that he can find the purpose and strength to serve his country. As a parent or guardian, you play a vital role in supporting your son or ward in this significant journey of growth. Continue to engage him, find out about his NS experience, encourage him to share his feelings, and lend a listening ear when necessary. If you have any concerns, feel free to speak with your son or ward’s commanders. They will be able to assist and advise you on helping your son or ward deal with whatever difficulties he may encounter.

Recognise common issues

During the confinement period of basic training, your son or ward may feel a sudden lack of freedom and personal space. He may feel as though he’s cut off from his usual sources of support. He:

  • may feel homesick being away from family and friends.
  • may not be used to communal living if he is accustomed to having his private space.
  • may find it challenging to cope with a new regimental environment.
  • will take some time to adjust and build up his physical and mental fitness.

To help your son or ward, it’s important to hear him out and not dismiss these thoughts which are real and valid. Instead of brushing it off as something that everyone faces, offer a listening ear and reassure him that his fears and worries are heard, and that you still care for him. Give him the space he needs while still being there for him.

Other forms of stress management that can be useful include:

  • Doing physical activities, like exercising.
  • Speaking to others about the issue for a fresh perspective.
  • Avoiding compulsive, addictive behaviours that might worsen the stress in the long run.
  • Focusing on solutions rather than the feeling of stress and anxiety.

Structures for care and support throughout National Service

There are systems and structures in place for your son or ward to feel heard and supported. These include:

  • Buddy system

    : Your son or ward will have a peer to lean on for support and empathise with.

  • Regular check-ins by commanders

    : To offer a listening ear and find out how your son or ward is coping, mentally and emotionally. Enlistees can speak to their commanders any time.

  • Learning how to take care of himself

    : As part of basic training, your son or ward will be taught ways to build his mental resilience. This begins with self-awareness, learning how to recognise physical and psychological signs of stress.

  • On-site Care Hub

    : Orientation Officers, counsellors, psychologists, and Medical Officers will be able to help with your son or ward’s worries and issues related to National Service (NS) life. Itis a safe space where he can share his concerns with trained professionals, without fear of judgment.

  • Financial assistance

    : If your family is facing financial obstacles, your son or ward can apply for financial assistance through these ways:

Singapore Armed Forces (SAF)

How to apply
  • Speak to his unit manpower officer (S1)

  • Speak to his officer during the interview session

  • Contact MINDEF Shared Services – Personnel Services Centre at 6373 1140 or 6373 1155

Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF)

How to apply
  • Submit his application together with his supporting documents through his Platoon Commander to the Human Resource Department

Singapore Police Force (SPF)

How to apply
  • Apply through his course manager if your son or ward is a trainee at the Home Team Academy

  • Apply through his Divisional Manpower Officer if your son is a Police full-time National Serviceman (NSF) in a Land Division or Staff Department

  • Preventive drug education

    : You play an important role in engaging and guiding your son or ward to lead a drug-free and healthy lifestyle. For drug prevention tips and preventive drug education information, visit the from the Central Narcotics Bureau website.

Counselling helplines

As parents or guardians, you are not alone in dealing with your son or ward's adjustments during this period. There are professional counsellors and dedicated helplines to help your son or ward and his family members. If you think that your son or ward needs more help than you can provide, these hotlines are a way for him to speak to someone who is trained in this area.

Singapore Armed Forces (SAF)

Counselling helpline
1800 278 0022
Operating hours

24 hours

Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF)

Counselling helpline
1800 286 6666
Operating hours

24 hours

Singapore Police Force (SPF)

Counselling helpline
1800 255 1151
Operating hours

Monday to Friday: 8.30am – 6.30pm, excluding public holidays

Singapore Anti-Narcotics Association (SANA)

Counselling helpline
Sana live chat
Operating hours

Monday to Friday: 6.00pm – 9.30pm

Visit the Central Manpower Base (CMPB) website for more information on common issues and where to seek help.

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