Social isolation takes a toll – and for many, the problem was made worse by last year’s Circuit Breaker and ongoing pandemic concerns. In response, eight youth members from JYC @ Children’s Society (GIG @ JYC) have released a song and music video to remind young people that they can get the help and support they need.

Signs, which took a year to put together, addresses the early signs of distress among youth, and the need to seek help.

The idea was sparked in April last year, when Singapore was in the midst of a Circuit Breaker to curb the spread of COVID-19. Social workers from JYC @ Children’s Society, Ms Harveer Kaur and Mr Muhammad Syzwi Bin Abdul, recognised more support programmes existed for younger children and parents than for youth, and suggested the idea of making a music video to JYC’s youth members.

Sign of the times: Eight JYC youth members came together to help youths spot signs of distress

Throughout the musical journey, from the initial conceptualisation to the writing and recording of the song and music video, staff mentors Ms Kaur and Mr Muhammad Syzwi were on hand to help with everything from sourcing a studio to conceptualising the song and video.

It took five months to come up with the concept, lyrics and melody, with the team working mainly over virtual platforms. After months of rehearsals and deciding on the creative direction, the song was recorded in December at Snakeweed Studios, which sponsored the recording. Work on the music video began the following month.

Ms Toh Ree Yeo, 15, who voiced the tune, had to break out of her comfort zone. “It was difficult for me to sing in front of my teachers and peers at first, and it was difficult trying to overcome it. But I am now more confident and comfortable, and I hope this song helps other youths.”

Mr Charles Angelo, 18, who edited the music video, reworked it multiple times based on feedback – which also helped him see criticism as constructive.

“It’s not about what’s not good, but what can be improved. This has also helped me with challenges I face at school – it is a reminder that I am always learning and growing.”

Art in motion: Under the guidance of their social workers, the group also made a music video to go with the song

“Despite the many constraints we faced, I’m proud that we managed to bring this to fruition,” said Mr Muhammad, adding that it took both hard work and determination.

He added that it also strengthened the bond between JYC’s youth and their social workers. “At JYC, we focus a lot on the developmental relationships we form with youth. This allows us to not only form bonds and rapport with our youth, but more importantly, to journey with them and delve deeper into the struggles they may otherwise feel very alone about.”

It also ended up being as fulfilling for the social workers as it was for the youth.

“Having been a part of this journey has been memorable – it’s something I will never forget as a youth worker,” said Ms Kaur.

Think someone might need help in recognising the Signs of distress? Click here to send them the music video. ‘Signs’ is also available on all our social media platforms.