University Students Lead #IAMWHOLE Mental Wellness Campaign
In Singapore, one in five youth* experience mental disorders in their lifetime, and three quarters of Singaporeans who suffer from mental disorders do not seek medical treatment. It is within this context that the YMCA of Singapore is driving the #IAMWHOLE campaign in Singapore, led by University-YMCA. For the month of October, they will be hosting a series of WHOLEsome activities to advocate for self-care and encourage mental wellness among youth in Singapore. They are also hoping to get 1,000 people to pledge a #WHOLEHOUR to practice self-care within the month“I was stuck in a depressive state for two weeks before I even realised I might be depressed!” shared Joel Ong, 22, Vice-President of University-YMCA (SUTD) and #IAMWHOLE Ambassador. His peers have also suffered from conditions including depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
“If neglected, mental disorders affect the entirety of a person. In the moment of illness, all that makes life meaningful seem distant and inaccessible. Many continue to face obstacles in revealing their conditions, such as fear that their employers or family members might react negatively,” he shared.
He hopes that the campaign will raise awareness on the prevalence and importance of mental wellness and combat stigma surrounding these issues that prevent youth from reaching out for much-needed professional help. The initiative includes an array of WHOLEsome youth activities that encourage active discussion and develop hobbies that provide recreation and social interaction amidst busy lives. The campaign also encourages youth who may be struggling to speak out and seek help.
These include a three-part conversation series featuring speakers such as Family Life Specialists from FamChamps and social media influencer and local business owner Christabel Chua, better known by her digital handle @bellywellyjelly. Other activities include group photography, trekking, music jamming, nature walks, and a “Y Food Trail”, where students will visit and interact with hawkers to learn about their stories.
“Mental wellness is essential. For too long, it has been neglected as discourses around youth focused on physical health and the pursuit of excellence. We hope that this campaign will highlight the importance of taking a break, and show youths who may be struggling that they are not alone, for we are all here to support them and to travel this journey alongside them,” said Steve Loh, General Secretary & CEO, YMCA of Singapore.
The original #IAMWHOLE campaign was created by UK-based creative agency Spirit Studios, developed in partnership with the NHS and YMCA, to encourage youth to speak out and seek help.
For more information, please visit https://www.iamwhole.ymca.org.sg.