Peer support for those with mental health issues

Ms Susan Ong, who used to struggle with major depressive disorder and anxiety, is a peer support specialist with Resilience Collective.
Ms Susan Ong, who used to struggle with major depressive disorder and anxiety, is a peer support specialist with Resilience Collective. PHOTO: COURTESY OF RESILIENCE COLLECTIVE

New charity offers platform powered by those who have faced similar struggles

A charity has been launched to provide peer support to people struggling with mental health issues.

Resilience Collective (RC) is the first such body to provide a platform powered by those who have experienced similar issues, rather than just professionals.

It is supported by the Institute of Mental Health, National Council of Social Service and Agency for Integrated Care.

RC board member and executive director Goh Shuet-Li said yesterday: "RC believes that persons with mental health conditions can not just cope but thrive.

"It provides a platform where persons with mental health conditions and professionals can partner to develop recovery-focused solutions and where peers can find a network of support."

Unlike a clinical institution that is based on the practitioner-patient relationship, RC regards peers as equal partners with healthcare professionals, and uses their personal experiences as a resource when creating programmes and initiatives.

Ms Goh added: "RC... focuses on using co-production principles when developing content and programmes. It has a strong focus on peer participation and is also largely peer-led."

 
 
 
 

Five co-produced planning workshops have been completed under the initiative's pilot run. Two training workshops with topics such as relearning how to be sociable and learning how to frame their recovery journey have been held. Each workshop has 15 to 20 participants.

"Attendees welcome the safe space to share and explore their own conditions and their... journeys, without judgment. Knowing there are others who have been on the same path provides encouragement and hope," Ms Goh said.

The conditions that participants might have include depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, addictions, anxiety disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Ms Susan Ong, 40, used to struggle with major depressive disorder and anxiety, but she is now a peer support specialist with RC, which she joined at the start of the year.

"RC aptly provides a rich pool of shared knowledge, resources and perspectives as we tap each other's brains, responses and voices in a safe, easy, friendly and encouraging manner," she said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 09, 2019, with the headline 'Peer support for those with mental health issues'. Print Edition | Subscribe