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Clin Assoc Prof Helen Chen Yu

Clin Assoc Prof Chen Yu Helen

MBBS, MMed (Psychiatry), Grad Dip Psychotherapy

Head & Senior Consultant

KK Women's and Children's Hospital

Specialty: Psychiatry

Sub-specialties: Women's Mental Wellness, Perinatal Psychiatry

Conditions Treated by this Doctor:
Antenatal Depression, Mother-Infant Bonding Disorders, Postnatal Depression, Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, Puerperal Psychosis.

Clinical Appointments

  • Head, Psychological Medicine & Senior Consultant Psychiatrist Department of Psychological Medicine KK Women's and Children's HospitalKK Women's and Children's Hospital


Dr Helen Chen is Senior Consultant Psychiatrist, and Head, Department of Psychological Medicine, KK Women's and Children's Hospital and Adjunct Associate Professor, Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School. She is also the Programme Director of the Postnatal Depression Intervention Programme, a MOH-funded project that aims to screen for Postnatal Depression amongst a cohort of recently delivered women for the purpose of early intervention. She completed her training in the area of perinatal psychiatry and women’s mental health in UK at the Queen’s Medical Centre, University of Nottingham, and has many years of clinical experience working with women suffering from mental health difficulties related to childbearing. Her research, publication and teaching experience has been particular related to emotional and psychological health issues in women, particularly in the context of motherhood, as well as empowering women to cope well with life challenges. Her experiences have humbled her, and made her respectful of the courage and perseverance of the spirit of her patients.


  • Grad Dip Psychotherapy 2001
  • MMed Psychiatry 2001
  • MBBS National University of Singapore 1995

Professional Appointments and Committee Memberships

  • Adjunct Associate Professor, Duke National University of Singapore
  • Head, Senior Consultant, Department of Psychological Medicine, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital, 2012 till present
  • Head, Mental Wellness Service, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital, 2006-2012
  • Director, Postnatal Depression Intervention Programme, 2008 till present
  • Committee member, National Mental Health Workgroup, 2012 till present
  • Member, Visitor’s Board, Institute of Mental Health, 2016 till present


  • Singhealth Health Quality Star Award – 2012, Singapore
  • Singhealth GCEO Outstanding Clinician Award – 2011, Singapore
  • Singhealth Health Quality Star Award – 2009-2010, Singapore
  • SPRING EXSA Star Award – 2009, Singapore
  • SPRING EXSA Gold Award – 2008, Singapore
  • KKH Service from the Heart Award - FY2008 QTR3, Singapore
  • KKH Service from the Heart Award - FY2007 QTR4, Singapore
  • Thrice NHG Service Champion Award – for 1st quarter, Jul 2005 to Sep 2005,
  • HMDP Fellowship to UK in Perinatal Psychiatry and Women’s Mental Health – 2004, UK

Research Interests

  • Perinatal Depression
  • Impact of maternal mental health on child development


  • “Psychotropic Prescription in Antenatal Depression, Anxiety and Adjustment Disorders in Singapore” Junpei Elizabeth Siak, Tze-Ern Chua, Sandy Julianty Umboh, Helen Chen. ASEAN Journal of Psychiatry, accepted on 5 Feb 2018.
  • “Child, Maternal and Demographic Factors Influencing Caregiver-Reported Autistic Trait Symptomatology in Toddlers” D. A. Goh, D. Gan, J. Kung, S. Baron-Cohen, C. Allison, H. Chen, S.M. Saw, Y. S. Chong, V. S. Rajadurai, K. H. Tan, P. C. L. Shek, et al. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, accepted on 18 Jan 2018, Published online on 31 Jan 2018, DOI 10.1007/s10803-018-3471-7. (IF 2.51)
  • “Prospective associations of maternal dietary patterns and postpartum mental health in a multi-ethnic Asian cohort: the Growing Up in Singapore Towards healthy Outcomes (GUSTO) study” Cherylen Teo, Ai-Ru Chia, Marjorelee T Colega, Ling-Wei Chen, Doris Fok, Wei Wei Pang, Keith M Godfrey, Kok Hian Tan, Fabian Yap, Lynette Pei-Chi Shek, Yap-Seng Chong, Michael Meaney, Helen Chen, Mary Foong-Fong Chong (2018) MDPI, Nutrients 2018, 10, 299; doi:10.3390/nu10030299, accepted on 28 Feb 2018, published 2 Mar 2018. (IF 4.74)
  • “Trajectories of maternal prenatal stress, depression, and anxiety, and their association with prematurity and neonatal outcomes” Lim, H. A., Chua, T. E., Malhotra, R., Allen, Jr., J. C., Teo, I., Tan, K. H., & Chen, H. (2018). European Psychiatry, 48, S216–217. (IF: 3.47)
  • “Psychopathology experienced in pregnancy loss: does post abortion syndrome exist?” Kah Wee Ng, Jintana Tang, Helen Chen, ASEAN Journal of Psychiatry, Vol. 18 (2), July - December 2017: XX-XX, accepted on 27 Nov 2017, published on 7 Dec 2017.
  • “Perinatal Maternal Depressive Symptoms Alter Amygdala Functional Connectivity in Girls” Ni Ni Soe, Daniel J. Wen, Joann S. Poh, Yap-Seng Chong, Birit Fp Broekman, Helen Chen, Lynette P. Shek, Kok Hian Tan, Peter D. Gluckman, Marielle V. Fortier, Michael J. Meaney and Anqi Qiu, Human Brain Mapping, accepted on 26 Oct 2017, Published online on 2 Nov 2017, DOI: 10.1002/hbm.23873. (IF 5.97)
  • “Maternal choline status during pregnancy, but not that of betaine, is related to antenatal mental well-being: The growing up in Singapore toward healthy outcomes cohort” van Lee L, Quah PL, Saw SM, Yap FKP, Godfrey KM, Chong YS, Meaney MJ, Chen H, Chong MF. Depress Anxiety 2017 Oct; 34(10):877-887. doi:10.1002/da.22637.(IF 5.00)
  • “FKBP5 moderates the association between Antenatal Maternal Depressive Symptoms and Neonatal Brain Morphology” Wang C, Shen M, Guillaume B, Chong YS, Chen H, Ortier MV, Meaney MJ, Qiu A. Neuropsychopharmacology 2017 Oct 3; doi:10.1038/npp.2017.232.(IF 6.40)
  • “Relation of plasma tryptophan concentrations during pregnancy to maternal sleep and mental well-being: The GUSTO cohort” Linde van Lee, Shirong Cai, See Ling Loy, Elaine K.H. Tham, Fabian K.P. Yap, Keith M. Godfrey, Peter D. Gluckman, Lynette P.C. Shek, Oon Hoe Teoh, Daniel Y.T. Goh, Kok Hian Tan, Yap Seng Chong, Michael J. Meaney, Helen Chen, Birit F.P. Broekman, Mary F.F. Chong, Journal of Affective Disorders, accepted on 21 August 2017, DOI: (IF 3.57)
  • “Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids in Perinatal Depression: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis” Pao-Yen Lin, Cheng-Ho Cheng, Mary Foong-Fong Chong, Helen Chen, Kuan-Pin Su, Elsevier, accepted on 3 March 2017, DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2017.02.1182. (IF 11.21)
  • “Influences of Prenatal and Postnatal Maternal Depression on Amygdala Volume and Microstructure in Young Children” Daniel J. Wen, Joann Poh, Soe Ni Ni, Yap-Seng Chong, Helen Chen, Kenneth Kwek, Lynette P. Shek, Peter D. Gluckman, Marielle V. Fortier, Michael J. Meaney & Anqi Qiu, Translational Psychiatry, accepted on 23 February 2017.(IF 5.62)
  • “Understanding How Postnatal Depression Screening and Early Intervention Works in the Real World – A Singaporean Perspective” Theresa MY Lee, Dianne Bautista & Helen Y Chen, Annals Academy of Medicine, PND Intervention Programme 4-Year Audit, October 2016, Vol. 45 No. 1.(IF 1.04)
  • “Association of physical activity and sedentary behavior with depression and anxiety symptoms during pregnancy in a multiethnic cohort of Asian women” Natarajan Padmapriya, Jonathan Y. Bernard, Shen Liang, See Ling Loy, Zhe Shen, Kenneth Kwek, Keith M. Godfrey & Peter D. Gluckman, Yap-Seng Chong, Seang Mei Saw, Michael J. Meaney, Helen Chen & Falk Müller-Riemenschneider (On behalf of the GUSTO Study Group), Received: 26 March 2016 /Accepted: 2 September 2016, Arch Womens Ment Health, DOI 10.1007/s00737-016-0664-y.(2.62)
  • "Anxiety and Depression during Pregnancy and Temperament in Early Infancy: Findings from a Multi-Ethnic, Asian, Prospective Birth Cohort Study" Shang-Chee Chong, Birit FP Broekman, Anqi Qiu, Izzuddin M. Aris, Yiong Huak Chan, Anne Rifkin-Graboi, Evelyn Law, Cornelia Yin Ing Chee, Yap-Seng Chong, Kenneth Y.C. Kwek, Seang Mei Saw, Peter D. Gluckman, Michael J. Meaney, Helen Chen; Infant Mental Health Journal Vol. 37(5), 584–598 (2016) DOI: 10.1002/imhj.2158.(1.07)
  • "Investigating analgesic and psychological factors associated with risk of postpartum depression development: a case control study” Thangavelautham S, Phuong Tu PH, Chen H, Tan EC, Pryseley NA, Sultana R, Han NL, Sng, BL, accepted Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, Apr 2016. Published 9 June 2016. (IF 1.74)
  • "Patterns and predictors of treatment outcome for antenatal major depression" Chua T E, Allen J, Ang L, Ong L L, Ch’ng Y C, Chen H. Singapore Medical Journal ePub 1 Jun 2016. doi: 10.11622/smedj.201610.(IF 0.57)
  • “Pre- and Post-natal Maternal Depressive Symptoms in relation with infant frontal function, connectivity and behaviours” Soe NN, Wen DJ, Poh JS, Yue Li, Broekman BF, Chen H, Chong YS, Kwek K, Saw SM, Gluckmann PG, Meaney MJ, Rifkin-Graboi A, Qiu A. accepted PLOS One, Mar 2016. Published 13 Apr 2016. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0152991.(IF 3.23)
  • “Maternal sensitivity, infant limbic structure volume and functional connectivity: preliminary study” Rifkin-Graboi A, Kong L, Sim LW, Sanmugam, Broekman BFP, Chen H, Wong E, Kwek K, Chong YS, Gluckman PD et al; Translational Psychiatry 5(10):E668; DOI:10.1038/tp.2015.133.(IF 5.62)
  • “ An independent association of prenatal depression with wheezing and anxiety with rhinitis in infancy” Chen TS, Chen H, Lee T, Teoh OH, Shek L, Lee BW, Chee C, Godfrey KM, Gluckman PD et el. Pediatric Allergy and Immunology 2015:00; DOI:10:1111/pai.12453 (IF 3.40)
  • “Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) Val66Met polymorphism influences the association of the methylome with maternal anxiety and neonatal brain volumes” Chen L, Pan H, Tuan, TA, The AL, MacIsaac JL, Mah SM, McEwen LM, Li Y, Chen H, Broekman B, et al. Development and Psychopathology 2015;27:135-150; doi:10.1017/S0954579414001357. (IF 4.89)
  • “Retrospective observation of mental disorders during postpartum period: Results from the Singapore mental health Study” Vathsala Sagayadevan*, Siau Pheng Lee, Edimansyah Abdin, Janhavi Vaingankar, Helen Chen, Siow Ann Chong and Mythily Subramaniam. BioMed Central Women’s Health (2015)15:119; DOI 10.1186/s12905-015-0279-x. (IF 1.50)
  • “Case control study of glucocorticoid receptor and corticotrophin-releasing hormone receptor gene variants and risk of perinatal depression” Ene-Choo Tan*, Tze-Ern Chua, Theresa M. Y. Lee, Hui-San Tan, Joe L. Y. Ting and Helen Y. Chen. BioMed Central Pregnancy & Childbirth (2015) 15:283 doi:10.1186/s12884-015-0720-z. Published 30 Oct 2015. (IF 2.19)
  • "Antenatal Maternal Anxiety Predicts Variations in Neural Structures Implicated in Anxiety Disorders in Newborns" Anqi Qiu*, Anne Rifkin-Graboi, Michael J. Meaney, Helen Chen, Jordan Bai, Waseem Bak’r Hameed, Mya Thway Tint, Birit FP Broekman, Yap-Seng Chong, Peter D. Gluckman, Marielle V. Fortier. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (JAACAP), accepted 28 Jan 2015. Volume 54, Issue 4, April 2015, Pages 313–321.e2. (IF 7.26)
  • "Prenatal Maternal Depression Alters Amygdala Functional Connectivity in 6-month-old infants" Anqi Qiu*, Ta Anh Tuan, Yue Li, Helen Chen, Anne Rifkin-Graboi, Birit FP Broekman, Kenneth Kwek, Seang-Mei Saw, Yap-Seng Chong, Peter D. Gluckman, Marielle V. Fortier, Michael J. Meaney. Nature Translational Psychiatry, accepted Dec 2014. Translational Psychiatry (2015) 5, e508; doi:10.1038/tp.2015.3. (IF 5.62)
  • "Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid status during pregnancy and maternal mental health in pregnancy and the postpartum period: results from the GUSTO study " Mary Foong-Fong Chong, Yi Lin Ong, Helen Chen, Chong Yap Seng, Marjorelee T. Colega, Peter GLUCKMAN_NZ, Keith Godfrey, Calder P.C., Tan Chuen Seng, Fisk H., Cai Shirong, Pang Wei Wei, Leutscher-Broekman, Saw Seang Mei, Kenneth Kwek, Michael MEANEY_Mcgill, Jocelyn Wong. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 2015; 76(7):e848-56 (IF 5.50)
  • “Relationships of maternal folate and vitamin B12 status during pregnancy with perinatal depression: The GUSTO study" Mary F.F. Chong, Jocelyn X.Y. Wong, Marjorelee Colega, Ling-Wei Chen, Rob M. van Dam, Chuen Seng Tan, Ai Lin Lim, Shirong Cai, Birit F.P. Broekman, Yung Seng Lee, Seang Mei Saw, Kenneth Kwek, Keith M. Godfrey, Yap Seng Chong, Peter Gluckman, Michael J. Meaney, Helen Chen. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 2014 55(April):110-116, doi: 10/1016/j.psychires.2014.04.006.(IF 4.66)
  • “COMT Haplotypes Modulate Associations of Antenatal Maternal Anxiety and Neonatal Cortical Morphology” A Qiu, T A Tuan, M L Ong, Y Li, A R-Graboi, H Chen, B FP Broekman, K Kwek, S-M Saw, Y-S Chong, P D. Gluckman, M V. Fortier, J D Holbrook, M J. Meaney, American Journal of Psychiatry 2015 Feb 31;172(20):163-72. Epub 2014 Oct 31. (IF 13.56)
  • “Association of premenstrual/menstrual symptoms with perinatal depression and a polymorphic repeat in the polyglutamine tract of the retinoic acid induced 1 gene" Tan EC, Tan HS, Chua TE, Lee T, Ng J, Ch’ng Y C, Choo C H, Chen H, Journal of Affective Disorders 2014 Jun; 161:43-6. Doi:10.1016/j.jad.2014.03.006. (IF 3.30).
  • “Prenatal maternal depression associated with microstructure of right amygdala in neonates at birth” Rifkin-Gabrol A, Bai J, Chen H, Hameed WB, Lit WS, Mya TT et al. Biological Psychiatry 2013 Dec1:74(11):837-44.doi:10.1016/j.biopsych.2013.06.019. (IF 10.26)
  • “Antenatal mental health and retinal vascular caliber in pregnant women” Li LJ, Ikram MK, Broekman, Cheung CYL, Chen H, Gooley JJ, Soh SE, Gluckman P, Kwek K, Chong YS, Meaney M, Wong TY, Saw SM. Trans Vis Sci Tech 2013, doi:10.1167/tvst.2.2.2.
  • “The maternal infant dyadic relationship – looking beyond postpartum depression” Chen H, Lee T. Asean J Psychiatry 2013; 14(2):161-69.
  • “Antenatal depression and anxiety in a high-risk pregnancy” Chua TE, Wang J, Chen H. Asean J Psychiatry accepted 2013
  • “Screening for postnatal depression in Chinese-speaking women using the Hong Kong translated version of the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale” Chen H, Bautista D (joint first authors), Ch’ng YC, Li WY, Chan E, Rush AJ. Asia Pac Psy, 2013, doi.10.1111/appy.12080
  • “The influence of anxiety in pregnancy on birth length” Broekeman G, Chan YH, Kwek K, Cohan SS, Haley CL, Chee C, Chen H, Rifkin-Garbrol A, Gluckman P, Meaney M, Saw SM. PaedPerinEpid accepted 2013
  • “Prevalence of depression and anxiety in high-risk pregnancies” Thiagayson P, Krishnasamy G, Sung S, Fung D, Allen J, Chen H. Gen Hospital Psychiatry 2012; 35(2):112-116
  • “Understanding maternal mental illness: a case report – psychiatric autopsy of maternal suicide” Chen H. Singapore Med Journal 2012 53(5):e1-e2
  • “Identifying mothers with postpartum depression early: integrating perinatal mental health care into the obstetric setting” Chen et al. ISRN Obstetrics and Gynecology accepted 2011; doi:10.5402/2011/309189.
  • “Frontline Report: Addressing maternal mental health needs in Singapore” Chen H. Psychiatric Services 2011, 62:102.
  • “Supportive counselling for postpartum depression in Asians” Fam J, Wang J, Chen H. Asia Pacific Psychiatry 2011; 3:61-66.
  • “Randomized comparison of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (escitalopram) monotherapy and antidepressant combination pharmacotherapy for major depressive disorder with melancholic features: a CO-MED report” Bobo WV, Chen H et al J Affective Disorders 2011; 133(3):467-76.
  • “Perinatal Case Management: Caring for our mothers as they care for their babies” Ch’ng YC, Wang J, Chen H J PaedsObsGyn 2010, Nov/Dec:227-232.
  • “Holistic Antenatal Care: Mental Wellness in Pregnancy” Chen H. SMJ 2008;49(1 Suppl):S16 Medical Journal 2008;49(9):694-697
  • “Maternal deaths from suicide in Singapore” Chen YH, Lau G. SMJ 2008;49(9):694-694.
  • “Women’s mental health – an overrated issue or under-recognised need” Chen H. SMJ editorial, May 2007;48(5):378-379
  • “Depressive symptomatology in pregnancy: a Singaporean perspective” Chen H, Tan KH, Chan YH, Lee T. SocPsy Psych Epid 2004, 39:975-979.
  • “Reducing benzodiazepine prescription at point of discharge” Lee C, Ng BT, Eu PW, Chen H, Lee N, Foo R, Ithin MA. Ann Acad Med Singapore 2004;33(5):S97.
  • “Mental health literacy study of general practitioners: a comparative study in Singapore and Australia” Parker G, Lee C, Chen H, Kua J, Loh J, Jorm A. Australasian Psychiatry 2001, Mar 9(1):55-59
  • “A comparative mental health literarch survey of psychiatrists and other mental health professionals in Singapore” Parker G, Chen H, Kua J, Loh J, Jorm A. Aust NZ J Psychiatry 2000 Aug;43(4):627-636
  • “Mental health literacy in Singapore: a comparative survey of psychiatrists and primary health professions.” Chen H, Parker G, Kua J, Jorm A, Loh J. Ann Acad Med Singapore 2000; Jul;29(4):467-73.
  • “A clinical study of 7 cases of trichotillomania in Singapore” Fung DSS, Chen H. Ann Acad Med Singapore 1999;28(4):519-524

Research Trials

  • Prospective follow-up of women with mental health disorders - 2018 submitted
  • Trajectories of Perinatal Stress, Depression, and Anxiety: Risk Factors and Associations with Neonatal Anthropometry – 2017
  • Evaluation of the Supporting Resilience and Empowering Mums (SURE MUMS) pilot programme 2017
  • Comparison of the role of epidural analgesia versus non-epidural analgesia in postnatal depression and persistent pain development – a randomized controlled trial - 2017
  • Depression and Anxiety in Women Facing Threatened Miscarriage and Their Partners 2016
  • Postnatal Depression and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder in Women following and Eventful Childbirth 2015
  • The Caregiving and Development Project 2015
  • Clinical Audit of the Postnatal Depression Intervention Programme 2008 till present