Published on 23 Apr 2024

Empowering Solutions through Bridging Technology and Wellness: Highlights from the Lien Research Programme on Good Governance (LRPGG) Social Lab Hackathon


The ongoing battle against the increasing mental health challenges is being held back by a pervasive stigma, which stifles efforts to advance our comprehension of mental health.

It is crucial to understand the root causes and identify symptoms before we can make progress in building resilience. This was the challenge posed to participants in the recent Lien Research Programme on Good Governance (LRPGG) Social Lab Hackathon held on February 20-21, 2024.

Six different student groups participated in the Social Lab Hackathon. The teams included students from various programmes, such as the Nanyang Centre for Public Administration (NCPA) Master of Public Administration and Master of Science in Managerial Economics; students from the PM6143 Innovation in the public sector, along with students from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) School of Humanities (SOH) and the School of Social Sciences (SSS). As a part of this challenge, participants had to develop a proposal aimed at transforming the inter-agency task force on “Mental Health and Well-being” into a whole-of-government/ whole-of-society effort. This also involved expanding the current National Mental Health and Well-being Strategy’s focus areas to address root causes affecting mental health among Singaporean adolescents aged 10-19 years old.

The hackathon participants recognised the need for a shift in focus from cure to promotion and prevention of mental health issues. They proposed an interdisciplinary approach, tapping on the expertise of various ministries and government agencies to promote early intervention and holistic support systems for adolescents. By leveraging technology and social media platforms, the participants aimed to create innovative solutions that would increase awareness, reduce stigma, and provide accessible resources for mental health.

Students from NCPA’s master’s programmes conducted in English, Ang Hwee Min, (MME), Chong Edwin, (MPA), and Didicazli Bin Cindy Ismail, (MPA) formed the first winning team. They leveraged their expertise in grassroots to develop a comprehensive outreach program aimed at strengthening communities and empowering individuals to actively participate in promoting mental health. The team also suggested enhancing the childcare leave system to strengthen family bonds, recognising the crucial role of family support in promoting mental well-being among adolescents.


The second winning team included Bhumika Dembla (SSS, Year 3), Carmen Lim (SSS Year 4), Jacie Koh Hui Hsin (SOH, Year 3) and Tan Zhi Ning (SSS, Year 1) who focused on using technology and the school’s network to address gaps in addressing mental health within society. Their aim was to strengthen the existing school-based mental health support system and improve parental awareness through the alumni network. They aimed to create a comprehensive and sustainable approach to promoting mental health. Additionally, they proposed leveraging generative AI and establishing a clear support network for societal access to assistance or information on mental health; this includes setting up centres providing counselling services and resources tailored specifically for adolescents.

The panellists, namely NCPA Adjunct Professor Ang Hak Seng, Ms Penny Low, Founder and President, Social Innovation Park Ltd/Social Entrepreneurship and Eco-Park Development (SEED), Ms Elisabetta Jiang, co-founder, Unicorns for Good and Dr Celia Lee, Senior Research Fellow, NCPA, were impressed with the innovative ideas and interdisciplinary approach proposed by the various teams. They expressed their excitement at seeing some of the projects come to fruition.