Social Service Professionals, Don’t Neglect Your Mental Health!

There have been rising concerns for the mental wellbeing of frontline workers and many in the social service sector as they constantly adapt to the measures to ensure the health [...]

The COVID-19 situation has shone the spotlight on mental health as the prolonged pandemic continues to impact lives. In particular, there have been rising concerns for the mental wellbeing of frontline workers who have been facing the brunt of the impact brought about by COVID-19. For many working in the social service sector, the situation is no different as they constantly adapt to the measures to ensure the health and wellbeing of those under their care.

In celebration of World Mental Health Day on 10 October, we speak to Ms Jeslyn Lim, the founder of Mind Culture, a psychology centre that has been providing pro bono counselling services for SPD staff since early this year. Read on as Ms Lim shares her insights on taking care of our mental wellness during these challenging times.

What are some common challenges Mind Culture observed that people face in this challenging period?

COVID-19 has radically changed the way that we live, interact and work. The past two years have been trying for many of us as the evolving nature of the pandemic has resulted in stressful situations, such as economic and familial loss. It is thus understandable to see more individuals seeking mental health support. 

We noticed that individuals who came forward to seek help were mainly struggling with challenges such as anxiety and stress due to job losses and depleting resources. Depression is another common presenting challenge. 

What about people who work in the social service sector? Do they face different types of challenges than other clients Mind Culture serve?

Fear of being stigmatised as “weak”. They might feel embarrassed and fearful of being viewed as “weak” if they seek help for mental health challenges. Being healthcare practitioners and advocates who help others, some of them may feel embarrassed that they themselves are experiencing mental health challenges. But there is nothing wrong with seeking help when you find yourself unable to manage. Social service professionals are humans too, after all. When you ensure that you are well taken care of, that’s when you can provide the best care for your clients as well.

Why did Mind Culture decide to partner SPD?

Taking a leaf from SPD’s tagline “Breaking Barriers, Unlocking Potential”, we want to help the SPD team to take charge of their mental wellbeing and unlock their own potential as well. Just as the staff of SPD devote themselves to building an inclusive community and helping their clients overcome challenges, Mind Culture is dedicated to help these committed individuals in what they do, by providing a pillar of support for their mental health needs. 

The pro bono counselling initiative which started six months ago has since supported 14 SPD staff who have signed up and benefitted from this service. We greatly encourage individuals who find themselves struggling to cope, to come forward and seek help as soon as possible.

Any wellness or coping strategies that Mind Culture can share?

The new normal poses a unique set of challenges for each of us. Now more than ever, practising self-care is essential in maintaining our mental and emotional health. Here are some wellness and coping tips that you can adopt – which can enable you to feel less stressed and become more mentally resilient in anxiety-ridden times like these: 

  • Prioritise sleep and workout: Sleep is the number one solution to improving our mental and physical health. Getting enough good quality sleep keeps your immune system running at its best to fight off infections.
  • Recognise your personal signs of stress.
  • Practise positive self-talk.
  • Practise gratitude and kindness.
  • Avoid mindless snacking or stress junk-eating.
  • Develop a “Don’t Do” list. You may refer to this resource for more details.

As Singapore transits towards a COVID-19 resilient nation, let us continue to build our own resilience by taking care of our mental wellbeing, and also lending a helping hand or a listening ear to those who may need emotional support.

“The humanity we all share is more important than the mental illnesses we may not” ― Elyn R. Saks If you or your loved ones wish to seek counselling support, you may find out more about Mind Culture’s services here.