The Queen’s Gambit: A Game of Mental Health

The Queen’s Gambit, a Netflix series, has captivated audiences worldwide with its gripping storyline and exceptional performances. Beneath its chess-driven narrative lies a poignant exploration of mental health, particularly substance abuse. As a film enthusiast, I’d like to delve into this aspect, making it relevant to our Singaporean audience.
The Queen's Gambit

Substance Abuse: A Coping Mechanism

The protagonist, Beth Harmon, played by Anya Taylor-Joy, struggles with addiction, using tranquillisers to calm her racing mind. Her dependence on these pills serves as a coping mechanism for her emotional pain, anxiety, and the pressure of competitive chess. This portrayal resonates with the struggles of many individuals facing mental health issues in Singapore.
Beth’s character is a prime example of how substance abuse can be a misguided attempt to self-soothe and escape the depths of one’s emotional turmoil. Her story serves as a stark reminder that addiction is often a symptom of underlying mental health concerns, rather than the sole issue itself.

Breaking the Stigma

The Queen’s Gambit humanises substance abuse, showcasing its connection to underlying mental health concerns. Beth’s character highlights the dangers of self-medication and the importance of seeking help. This narrative is crucial in breaking the stigma surrounding mental health discussions in Singapore.
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The show’s portrayal of mental health struggles is relatable, making it an excellent conversation starter. By exploring the complexities of addiction and mental wellbeing, The Queen’s Gambit encourages viewers to confront their own biases and misconceptions. This is particularly significant in Singapore, where mental health discussions have historically been met with reservation.

Mental Health in Singapore: A Growing Concern

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Singapore has made strides in addressing mental health, but there is still much work to be done. According to the Singapore Mental Health Study 2016, one in seven people in Singapore experience a mental disorder each year. The most common conditions include major depressive disorder, alcohol use disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Despite these statistics, many individuals in Singapore continue to struggle in silence. The stigma surrounding mental health can be a significant barrier to seeking help, with some individuals fearing judgment or repercussions on their career and personal relationships.

The Power of Storytelling

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The Queen’s Gambit demonstrates the power of storytelling in breaking down stigmas and sparking meaningful conversations. By sharing relatable characters and their struggles, the show creates a sense of empathy and understanding. This is essential in encouraging individuals to speak openly about their mental health and seek support.
Storytelling has long been a potent tool in raising awareness and promoting empathy. In the context of mental health, it can be a game-changer. By sharing personal experiences and struggles, individuals can find solace in knowing they are not alone. This sense of community and connection is vital in the journey towards recovery and healing.

Seeking Help in Singapore

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse or mental health concerns, know that help is available:
  • WeCare: A community-based organisation providing support and resources for individuals struggling with addiction. (


  • National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG): Offers counselling and support services for individuals affected by gambling addiction. (


  • Institute of Mental Health (IMH): Provides comprehensive mental health services, including addiction treatment. (


  • Samaritans of Singapore (SOS): A 24/7 helpline for those in crisis, including those struggling with mental health concerns. (1-767;


  • Singapore Association for Mental Health (SAMH): Offers counselling, therapy, and support groups for individuals with mental health conditions. (



The Queen’s Gambit masterfully weaves a narrative that highlights the complexities of mental health and substance abuse. As we engage with this series, let us remember the importance of empathy, understanding, and seeking help when needed. In Singapore, we are fortunate to have organisations like WeCare and others that offer support and resources. Let us work together to break the stigma surrounding mental health and encourage open conversations.
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A Word From A Space Between

Are you taking the first step towards healing and seeking a safe space to explore your thoughts and emotions? We understand that finding the right therapist can be a daunting task, which is why we’re here to support you every step of the way.
At A Space Between, our community of over 90 experienced therapists and counsellors in Singapore are dedicated to providing a nurturing environment for you to grow and heal. These private mental health providers specialise in a range of areas, including depression, relationships, paediatrics, and LGBTQIA+ issues, so you can trust that you’re in good hands.
If you’re unsure about where to begin, A Space Between offers a client and therapist matching service, which includes a complimentary 15-minute introductory call. We believe that a strong therapist-client connection is essential for effective therapy, and we’re committed to helping you find that connection.
Are you a private practitioner seeking a flexible co-practice space to conduct your therapy sessions? Take a deep breath and explore our membership plans and perks at your own pace. You can even take a virtual 3D tour of our serene space or book a personalised in-person tour when you’re ready. We look forward to welcoming you to our community.


Where private practice meets
A Space Between provides flexible co-working office spaces for rent to therapists and other professionals in Singapore.
A Space Between is a destination for mental health therapy activities. Counsellors utilise our many conducive therapy rooms for consultations. Located conveniently downtown and offering your independent therapists rent by the hour, we house many professional mental health practitioners, including LGBTQ+ friendly ones. To find out more about the therapists practising in A Space Between, write to us at [email protected].
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