In a society where mental health has progressively taken centre stage, understanding and nurturing mental wellness from an early age has never been more crucial. Recognising this pressing need, Singapore Children’s Society’s Oasis for Minds Services introduced the ‘Our Mighty Minds (OMM)’ programme. The initiative aims to create an informed and supportive environment that fosters mental health literacy among children, young persons (CYP) and their caregivers.

OMM is a group-based programme that develops knowledge about mental health, psychological distress and mental illness; attitudes and behaviours to promote others’ mental health and respond to others’ mental illness; and attitudes and behaviours to promote one’s mental health and cope with one’s mental illness.

We conducted OMM workshops for our beneficiaries from Sunbeam Place @ Children’s Society and Yishun Family Service @ Children’s Society this year which were well received by the participants. In general, the programme is designed to cater to a broad spectrum, and we welcome:

  • CYP aged 10 to 14 from the general population in schools and communities, which include those with no known symptoms but are at risk or have mild or non-specific symptoms such as behavioural or emotional health issues
  • Parents/Caregivers and families
  • Helping professionals

The programme unfolds through six interrelated modules in both compulsory and elective segments. Each module, lasting around two hours, nurtures a space for understanding and reflection through a rich blend of instructional teaching, experiential group activities, peer discussion and role play. 

our mighty minds

Participants experiencing the Dual Continuum Model with everyday items like disposable cutlery and ping pong balls! 

our mighty minds

After learning about the Dual Continuum Model through a friendly competition among peers, our children from Sunbeam Place took time to identify their state of mental wellness on the dual axis 

our mighty minds

Full concentration is required when it comes to constructing a card tower in just 5 minutes – the perfect way to help children identify stress and their corresponding bodily reactions!

The children embark on a journey through modules that unravel the complex world of mental health, focusing on topics like growing beyond stigma, appreciating the integration of mental health and mental illness, recognising ways to achieve optimal mental health, understanding mental illnesses and treatments, and acquiring helping and self-management skills. The pinnacle of every session is a reflective process that encourages the children to ponder on how the competencies acquired can be applied to foster their mental wellness.

Parents and caregivers, on the other hand, are guided to become stewards in recognising early symptoms of mental distress and understanding the causes and risk factors associated with mental disorders. The journey empowers them to seek information and appropriate help, nurturing positive attitudes towards individuals with mental health conditions, and fostering a support system grounded in understanding and acceptance.

our mighty minds

One of the key factors to positive mental health is through Relatedness – our relationships and connections with others

Through OMM, participants become not just learners but influencers. They emerge with a deep-seated understanding of mental health, ready to influence a culture grounded in compassion and empathy. Moreover, by nurturing positive role models in parents and caregivers, OMM instills a culture of understanding and openness, allowing the CYP to flourish in an environment that understands, accepts and promotes mental wellness.

Reflection of the attendees

“Before joining the programme, I thought that mental health is for ‘crazy’ people. After joining the programme, I learned that not only those with serious mental illness need help, but also those with poor mental health.” (Youth participant, Sunbeam Place)

“Before joining the programme, I thought that mental health is embarrassing because you cannot control your feelings. After joining the programme, I learned that people with mental health conditions can be good or bad, depending on who is around them and what they do to them. I also learnt that the surrounding environment and support from the community are important. (Child participant, Yishun Family Service)

“My takeaway is that I should not be reactive but to be responsive towards my grandniece. I can better understand her stressors and where they come from, and I can now better understand the functions of her behaviour, which I would think about in my interactions with her.” (Caregiver participant, Sunbeam Place)

Click here to read the story in Chinese.

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