South East CDC promotes mental health awareness through digital productions

ITE College East students at a session aimed at raising awareness of mental illness and reducing its stigma. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

SINGAPORE - It has been a stressful two years for ITE College East student Seri Nurshakila Ridhwan amid the pandemic and home-based learning.

But she is now more confident about discussing how she is feeling mentally, after picking up some tips from her lecturers on Monday (April 25).

The 17-year-old second-year student was among more than 30 Nitec in technology students who joined a session at the ITE College East campus in Simei aimed at raising awareness of mental illness and reducing its stigma.

Arts company T:>Works and the South East Community Development Council’s Resilience Committee partnered to create The Light Within - a digital series comprising a short film titled Sensitive and an animation titled Sleepover.

They then took it to schools such as ITE College East, which is among the first to experience the initiative.

Prior to the screening, nine lecturers underwent workshops to facilitate the conversations and discussions they would have with their students after watching the films.

These digital productions aim to empower lecturers with capabilities, tools and resources to engage in discussions with students on related themes, as well as other mental health issues a student may be facing.

Mr Fahmi Aliman, Mayor of South East District, who attended the event, said: "I am glad that there is now an avenue for our youngsters to speak up and highlight their concerns to someone that they can trust, be it friends, parents or educators."

He also noted that the screenings will allow other students to learn techniques on how to support their classmates if they are experiencing any mental issue and are unsure of how to express it.

Executive director of T:>Works Traslin Ong said it was important to give a voice to youth, as mental health as a topic is often overlooked.

ITE College East plans to roll out the initiative to other courses by the end of this year.

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