Race to know issues faced by mental health patients

(From left) Ms Adelyn Lim, Ms Tricia Chua, Ms Tricia Koh and Ms Tan Li Ying have experienced mental health issues such as anxiety, depression and personality disorders. They hope to raise about $8,000 for SAMH.
(From left) Ms Adelyn Lim, Ms Tricia Chua, Ms Tricia Koh and Ms Tan Li Ying have experienced mental health issues such as anxiety, depression and personality disorders. They hope to raise about $8,000 for SAMH.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

Fund-raising event simulates conditions faced by such people

An amazing race with a difference will be held in August, when participants have to put themselves in the shoes of the mentally ill.

They will have to visit stations that simulate the conditions mental health patients face.

For example, participants will be each asked to wolf down a large plate of food, to experience how patients might feel overwhelmed.

This is part of a drive by four young people to raise funds for the Singapore Association for Mental Health (SAMH). The group, comprising Ms Adelyn Lim, 23, Ms Tricia Chua, 20, and Ms Tricia Koh and Ms Tan Li Ying, both 18, will also sell items, such as handicrafts made by SAMH clients, in the Orchard area.

They started the project as they had experienced mental health issues themselves, and wanted to get rid of the stigma associated with mental illnesses.

Ms Chua, the team leader, is studying for her private A-level exams at the Management Development Institute of Singapore. She told The Straits Times: "We felt like we couldn't speak to our friends about mental illnesses, and learnt that others face similar problems."

She and her teammates have experienced issues such as anxiety, depression and personality disorders. They hope to raise about $8,000 for SAMH.

HURDLES PATIENTS FACE

We felt like we couldn't speak to our friends about mental illnesses, and learnt that others face similar problems.

MS TRICIA CHUA, the team leader, on why she and her friends came up with the idea to enable others to experience what mental health patients face.

They make up one of 100 teams in this year's Citi-YMCA Youth For Causes (YFC) programme, which was launched yesterday by President Tony Tan Keng Yam at the School of the Arts. The initiative is into its 15th run.

YMCA delegates from 15 cities that have adopted the YFC programme attended the launch.

YMCA president Eric Teng said: "We have exported our YFC model to other countries, and we are also proud of how sustainable it has been."

There is continuity because past participants return to mentor the following batches of youth in the programme.

Under the initiative, each team receives funding of $1,600, and resources such as training in financial management and marketing.

Each team will promote and raise funds for a voluntary welfare organisation of its choice for 15 weeks until the end of August.

Other projects cover topics such as art therapy, social entrepreneurship and children empowerment.

Ms Tan Li Li, executive director of SAMH, said raising awareness is more important than fund raising under the programme.

"The scheme gives us a platform to engage youth about social causes such as mental health. When they hear about us, they will know that there is an avenue to seek help."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 17, 2017, with the headline 'Race to know issues faced by mental health patients'. Print Edition | Subscribe