CampusImpact expands Yishun space to run therapeutic programmes for young people

Minister of State for Home Affairs and National Development Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim (second from left) at the launch of CampusImpact's new Room to Grow. ST PHOTO: KHALID BABA

SINGAPORE - A safe haven for young people can now roll out more services, with additional space at its Yishun site.

Social service agency CampusImpact's new Room to Grow - with $200,000 funding from Singapore Pools - was launched on Saturday (July 24).

The 163 sq m extension will provide therapeutic services through art, dance and movement, play and animal-assisted interventions for those aged seven to 17.

Residents can call CampusImpact - which has operated at its Block 151 Yishun Street 11 site for seven years - to arrange an assessment, via phone or in person, to decide the type of therapy needed.

Therapy services typically cost $130 per hour or more, but clients with household incomes of $4,500 and below are eligible for subsidies, which are offered through means-testing.

Higher subsidies will be given on a case-by-case basis.

Minister of State for Home Affairs and National Development Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim said at the launch: "It is heartening to see that they are ramping up their efforts to provide our next generation with effective social services so that our children and families can grow in resilience to overcome not only the challenges we face today but also those of the future."

He is also an adviser to Nee Soon GRC grassroots organisations.

The new extension will also be tapped to conduct workshops, games and family-bonding sessions such as craft activities. The space includes a time-out pod for children who feel overwhelmed and need to be away from the main group for a while.

Ms Elysa Chen, executive director of CampusImpact, said: "The misconception about mental health is that it is a problem that we either have or do not have. In reality, mental health is a continuum, like physical health, which we can always do more to strengthen, just like we could always eat healthier, exercise more regularly, and do fewer back-to-back Zoom sessions."

The launch comes after a recent tragedy at River Valley High School, where a boy, 16, allegedly killed a 13-year-old schoolmate in a toilet.

Ms Chen said children told CampusImpact staff that they felt traumatised and saddened by the incident, with some younger ones saying they are afraid of getting picked on by bullies when they go to secondary school.

"But it is not simply the recent incident that has escalated the urgency to provide more support for our young. Students are digital natives who experience increased stress from our fast-paced way of life, cyber bullying and, despite being connected on social media, ironically feel a growing sense of alienation and loneliness," she noted.

"It is our best hope that the Singapore Pools-CampusImpact Room to Grow will be a safe haven for all who step into it to know that they can make mistakes, knowing that we are all works in progress," she added.

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