“One in three Singapore adolescents reported mental health symptoms. Only one in ten parents could spot mental health symptoms in their children”

Mental health, like physical health, is a state of health. It includes our emotional, psychological, social and functioning well-being. It is important to hold safe spaces and validate children’s feelings so they can communicate their inner world and learn how to seek timely and appropriate help.

There are various stressors that children experience which can affect their mental health. These include self-imposed or parents-imposed expectations of academic achievement or goal attainment. It could also be family-related stressors or peer issues as well.

Stigma around mental health continues to be prevalent in society today, which prevents affected youth and young children to come forward and seek help. Here are some of the common misconceptions shared amongst children and adults on how they perceive mental health.

“It is shameful to have a mental illness”

“Mental illness is a sign of weakness”

“There is nothing I can do to help someone who is struggling with their
mental health”

Against the background of tackling mental health issues among children, our Flourishing Minds (FM) team from Singapore Children’s Society held a ‘Our Mighty Minds’ workshop at Sunbeam Place @ Children’s Society on 24 March this year. The interactive workshop, which was attended by 32 volunteers from the Appropriate Adult Scheme for Young Suspects (AAYS), was conducted to impart positive attitudes, deepen knowledge and build skills to attend to children’s mental health needs.

Ms Priscilla Chan from the Flourishing Minds team giving a presentation on how to attend to a child in distress

Ms Priscilla Chan from the Flourishing Minds team giving a presentation on how to attend to a child in distress

A volunteer sharing about her experience and reflecting on an activity which helped her and the group learn about signs and symptoms of a child in distress

A volunteer sharing about her experience and reflecting on an activity which helped her and the group learn about signs and symptoms of a child in distress 

The workshop shared various perspectives on mental health, igniting meaningful discussion surrounding the barriers children face in seeking help. Some of the barriers include stigma towards poor mental health and mental illness and fears and worries of facing possible harsh judgement from family, friends and the community.

Staff from Flourishing Minds @ Children’s Society guiding volunteers through various activities
Staff from Flourishing Minds @ Children’s Society guiding volunteers through various activities
Staff from Flourishing Minds @ Children’s Society guiding volunteers through various activities

Staff from Flourishing Minds @ Children’s Society guiding volunteers through various activities

During the workshop, our staff engaged the volunteers in role-play and interactive games to create an environment to explore and empathise with the mental health struggles that children face. The volunteers broke into groups of three, playing roles of a child, an adult and an observer. Volunteers took turns to experience the three different roles, gave feedback to each other to learn how they can better attend to children’s mental health needs.

The volunteers also learnt how to identify signs and symptoms, practice self-regulation skills so that they can share and practice with children.

“Mental health is not a disorder but is a state of health that includes one’s emotional, psychological and social well-being.”

“The statistics shared made me realise the current situation with our children is a worrying one, and that being understanding and empathetic is not enough but we need to equip ourselves with the right skills (e.g. asking the appropriate questions, recommending mental health check-in, sharing self-regulating strategies) can help the child in distress.”

Group photo of the AAYS? volunteers and staff from Singapore Children’s Society

Group photo of the AAYS volunteers and staff from Singapore Children’s Society

If you know of any children who are in need of help, mental health check-in sessions are available here.

To find out more about Our Mighty Minds (OMM) workshops, click here.

Otherwise, if you have any other questions regarding mental health, do contact our Flourishing Minds team at oms@childrensociety.org.sg

Click here to read the story in Chinese.
请点击此处阅读中文版本

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