First WSQ-certified course to support mental well-being at S'pore workplaces launched

Young NTUC member Pravita Nithiah Nandan Mrs Subin (right) and her husband overcome workplace-related anxiety by doing activities like cycling and brisk walking. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Young NTUC union leader Pravita Nithiah Nandan, 35, has always believed that mental health for employees is an important aspect that companies should look at.

She was among the first to take part in a new two-day course launched on Tuesday (Oct 5) that aims to improve mental health in the workplace by teaching psychological first aid skills, such as how to identify common stress indicators and how to support those in need.

Participants are also taught compassionate communication methods that will help them engage with peers in a non-intrusive manner, and will have access to resources and contacts they can tap to provide further help.

The collaboration between Young NTUC, the NTUC LearningHub and Singapore Anglican Community Services is the first such course to be Workforce Skills Qualification (WSQ)-certified.

Upon completion of the course, those certified will become peer supporters.

They will be able to provide peer-to-peer mental well-being support in workplaces, such as initiating conversations with their companies to set up formal peer-to-peer mental well-being support structure within the organisation.

If setting up a formal support structure is difficult, peer supporters can still support their colleagues informally.

Young NTUC adviser Desmond Choo, who attended the launch, said the pandemic has amplified the need for employers to take mental well-being seriously. The plan is to get 60 people trained as peer supporters at their workplaces by the end of the year and 200 by the end of next year, he said.

"Organisations need to start investing in the mental health of our workers. One way to kick-start (this) is by nominating their human resource representatives and employees to take the WSQ-certified course, and recognise the contributions of peer supporters in championing for better mental well-being support," added Mr Choo, who is also MP for Tampines GRC and assistant secretary-general at NTUC.

A survey conducted by Young NTUC in January showed that the top stressors experienced by working youth include workload, feeling undervalued and long working hours - with 67 per cent of working youth highlighting a lack of support for mental well-being at their workplace.

Ms Pravita, who has been a union leader with the National Transport Workers' Union for five years, said she plans to kick-start conversations with the union and the management to come up with measures, programmes and peer support networks to support mental well-being at her workplace.

Those interested can write to to inquire on the course details and training schedule. The public can sign up from January 2022.

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