​Depression and dementia - considered to be the most debilitating in terms of health and social outcomes and burden of illness in the elderly population, pose a growing public health challenge in the Asia-Pacific region. Diagnosing dementia is difficult and the disease has an enormous impact on the affected persons and their caregivers alike. It requires a great deal of human and financial resources to provide care and services for people with dementia as well as for their families. To build the infrastructure to cope with this looming problem, and to allocate resources in a rational manner, high quality data on the present situation is needed. This information should encompass not just accurate estimates of the prevalence of dementia but the various associated factors to identify particularly vulnerable groups,  on the unmet needs, and the economics of the disorder in terms of costs,  and its effect on accessing care.

WISE Recruit

To provide robust evidence of the burden of dementia and depression among the elderly in Singapore and to bridge the knowledge gap on their associated risk factors, healthcare use and economic impact, a three-year nationwide epidemiological study - Well-being of the Singapore Elderly (WiSE), is being conducted by IMH's Research Division.

This study will focus on the following tasks:

  • Conduct a population based epidemiological study to establish the prevalence of dementia and depression amongst the elderly in Singapore 
  • Identify the associated risk factors for these two disorders
  • Describe current use of healthcare services and unmet needs of patients of dementia and their caregivers
  • Estimate caregivers burden
  • Evaluate economic burden of the illness

The multi-disciplinary research team is lead by A/Prof Chong Siow Ann, Vice Chairman Medical Board (Research), from the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) and comprises international and local research investigators from IMH, Changi General Hospital, Ministry of Health (MOH), National University Hospital, and the King’s College, London.

This three-year S$4.4 million programme is funded by the MOH and the Singapore Millennium Foundation.

Principal Investigator: Assoc. Prof. Chong Siow Ann , Institute of Mental Health

Co-Principal Investigators: 

  • Asst. Prof. Mythily Subramaniam , Institute of Mental Health
  • Dr Ng Li Ling, Changi General Hospital
  • Dr Seng Kok Han, Insitute of Mental Health


  • Dr Chua Hong Choon, Institute of Mental Health
  • Assoc. Prof. Derrick Heng , Ministry of Health
  • Ms Hia Soo Boon, Institute of Mental Health
  • Ms Huang Wanping, Institute of Mental Health
  • Dr Joshua Kua, Raffles Hospital
  • Dr Harish Magadi, Institute of Mental Health
  • Assoc. Prof. Rathi Mahendran , National University Health System
  • Dr Srinivasa Sastri Malladi, Institute of Mental Health
  • Prof. Paul McCrone, King’s College, London
  • Prof. Martin Prince, King’s College, London
  • Dr Tan Lay Ling, Changi General Hospital
  • Ms Janhavi Vaingankar, Institute of Mental Health
  • Assoc. Prof. Mabel Yap, Ministry of Health​