Renewed sense of hope for mother and daughter after a tough spell

Project Green Ribbon founder Ling Anne Hsieh (left) and her beneficiary Kellin Lisa William, with a bag and t-shirt with Kellin's art. ST PHOTO: THADDEUS ANG

SINGAPORE - She was a working mother caring for two young daughters and a 74-year-old mother suffering from dementia, while going through a divorce.

The sales manager, who wanted to be known only as Ms Lisa, said in an interview that the period, which started in 2019 and lasted for a little over a year, was particularly harrowing for her, especially when her elder daughter Kellin, who was 12 then, started acting up.

The 45-year-old would cry constantly and suffered from anxiety attacks, and showed symptoms of depression.

"All of a sudden, you just feel fearful for no reason. You just feel so scared, even when at work," Ms Lisa told The Straits Times.

Project Green Ribbon, a non-profit organisation launched last February to help people deal with mental health issues after the Covid-19 pandemic struck, came to her aid.

A friend urged her to watch a video where the organisation's founder, Ms Ling Anne Hsieh, who had also struggled with mental issues, talked about her own experiences.

It struck a chord and Ms Lisa got in touch, told Ms Hsieh about the problems she was facing, including with her daughter, and made an appointment to meet her.

At the first meeting, Ms Hsieh gave Ms Lisa and Kellin advice, and offered conflict coping strategies. She urged both mother and daughter to constantly remind themselves of their love for each other.

Ms Lisa also showed one of her daughter's drawings and Ms Hsieh asked her to submit more of them to Project Green Ribbon.

Last September, Kellin joined a Project Green Ribbon programme called Creative Expressions, where artworks of beneficiaries can be submitted to the organisation's website and translated into merchandise.

Through the programme, Kellin received a $500 sponsorship from Dezy, a fintech company, for her designs. Several of them have been printed on Project Green Ribbon T-shirts and tote bags.

Ms Hsieh said the programme was a venue for Kellin to express her emotions.

"We wanted her to see drawing as something positive and that positive things can be accomplished with your strengths," she added.

Kellin will also be taking part in Project Green Ribbon's upcoming Community Upreach mentoring programme, which aims to explain to young people the importance of self care and teach them listening and empathy skills.

Today, Ms Lisa feels a renewed sense of hope about her daughter.

"I know no matter what, there's somebody there to guide me or to help me in helping my little girl," she said.

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