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“Journeys of Caregiving” brings Mental Health Conversations to Youth

On 3 June 2019, a group of young caregivers from CAL were invited to share their caregiving journeys to youths aged between 18 and 35 at the headquarters of Youth Corps Singapore (YCS) at The Red Box. This event, titled “Journeys of Caregiving”, aimed to facilitate mental health conversations among youths and to advocate against mental health stigma. Although much effort has been made to change perspectives towards mental health issues through nationwide campaigns such as NCSS’ Beyond the Label, there still exists much prejudice and discrimination in society. The youth are a key group to spread the message about mental health to, since they are in formative years and are particularly vulnerable to mental health conditions, but are also old enough to be advocates for change. The event intended to ignite positive changes in the attitudes and behaviour in youths towards the mental health sector in Singapore through conversations with caregivers. Fully organised by interns from National Youth Corps who are attached to CAL, it was a step forward in creating an inclusive society, and an opportunity for CAL to connect with the younger generation – many of whom are caregivers despite their tender age. Journeys of Caregiving opened with a Kahoot! Quiz as an introduction to mental health in general. The quiz also addressed misunderstandings about psychiatric conditions through challenging yet engaging questions that prompted participants to think critically about the diverse range of mental health conditions that are common amongst Singaporeans. Participants were then divided into 4 smaller groups, led by a caregiver and a facilitator. The caregivers were prompted to share about the emotions and difficulties they faced throughout their loved one’s condition, as well as their motivations for advocating for changes in the mental health landscape in Singapore. The event was well received, with participants gaining valuable insights into the journeys that caregivers face. Many even shared that they would be keen on volunteering for the mental health cause in the future. This sharing session will be making a comeback during CAL’s upcoming Caregiver Festival in September 2019. If you are a young caregiver of someone with a mental health condition, do come along to join the conversation. Keen on sharing your story? Let us know as well!

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