The Singapore Children’s Forum (SCF) takes on a different format this year, and the 12 selected participants have already begun getting into gear for it. They are participating in a series of learning sessions that will equip them better for their small-group projects and the project showcase in January 2022.

To be held over two months, the learning sessions will provide them with project skills and relevant content around four key themes: mental health, the impact of COVID-19, the digital world, and education. 

The youth, who are aged between 13 and 17, will eventually select one theme on which to base their group projects.

Launched in 2013, SCF is a platform for children and young persons (CYP) in Singapore to participate and express their views on issues that matter to them. The last SCF was held in November 2019.

Guest speakers have been invited to share their insights for the content sessions. On 7 August, Adj A/Prof Daniel Fung, CEO of the Institute of Mental Health, and Ms Julia Kwek, caseworker from Youth Service @ Children’s Society, shared their thoughts on mental health. 

Apart from citing pertinent studies such as “Study on attitudes towards Persons with Mental Health Conditions” (2017) to help participants understand current attitudes, Dr Fung also explained the differences between mental illness and mental health, and when professional help is needed.

Ms Kwek added her insights on healthy emotional regulation, and the need to embrace how one feels.

The session on the impact of COVID-19 on youth, held on 14 August, featured presentations from Mr Kwan Jin Yao, a social welfare PhD candidate at the University of California Los Angeles’s (UCLA) Luskin School of Public Affairs, and Kid’s Dream, a Hong Kong-based child-led group. Mr Kwan and Kid’s Dream shared their studies on how the pandemic has impacted youth in Singapore and Hong Kong, respectively.

For participants, the sessions, which also include project-management skills, provide an invaluable foundation for their upcoming work.

Zerlina Kok, who attended the session on facilitation skills, says: “I have picked up useful skills with which to analyse conversations, allowing me to ask better questions and spark insightful and meaningful conversations.”

The next content session, on navigating the digital world, will be held on 4 September. Interested youth between 13 and 18 are welcome to attend the session. Just click on this link to register.

Stay tuned to our social media platforms for more updates on SCF 2021/2022.