Meet Yin Feng, Cluster Head for the West Team at Caregivers Alliance. In her role, Yin Feng and her team of Programme Managers collaborate with community and hospital partners to reach out to caregivers in need. As a trained counsellor, Yin Feng also conducts the C2C and C4C programmes and provide emotional support to caregivers.
Before her recent appointment as Cluster Head, Yin Feng had been the Volunteer Manager for over 3 years. In that role, she maintained relationships with the Chinese-speaking volunteers and coordinated opportunities for C2C volunteer trainers. She also planned and organised events and training for volunteers as a means of engagement and empowerment.
In this interview, Yin Feng tells us about how her experience as a psychiatric nurse led her onto a path of self-discovery, and her passion for caregiving and mental health.
Before joining CAL, you were a full-time nurse. What made you decide to switch tracks to the mental health sector?
Between 2007 and 2010, I worked as a nurse at a private hospital. In 2010, I was transferred to a psychiatric ward where I had the opportunity to work closely with patients and their families. The experience was eye-opening and it ignited my passion for mental health.
I took a leap of faith and pursued a Master’s Degree in Counselling under ECTA. During my coursework, I met a classmate who worked at CAL and upon graduation, I was presented with an exciting opportunity to volunteer with the organisation. After a year of volunteering, I then joined as a full-time staff and devoted my heart and time to the caregiving and mental health sector.
Based on your experience over the years, how have things changed in the mental health sector?
Compared to a decade ago, things have definitely improved for Singapore in terms of stigma and mental wellness advocacy. In the past, caregivers and patients were very reserved and not forthcoming about mental health. Now, people’s attitudes towards the topic has improved – they are a lot more open and more accepting.
I believe that CAL has been a major catalyst for the change. Over the last 10 years, CAL has been continuously spreading the message to destigmatise mental health, and while there is still room for improvement, we are seeing progress slowly but surely.
Were there any caregivers that made a particular impact on you?
Absolutely. In fact, there are too many to count!
Seeing caregivers’ resilience and improvements keeps me going. Just recently, a caregiver that I’ve been supporting since 2019 called me. I was a little worried as he only ever calls me when he’s in a bad place and in need of support. However, to my pleasant surprise, he called to share his joy with me, as his daughter who is recovering from bipolar disorder has passed her A’ Levels, with results good enough to qualify for university admission. It was a breakthrough for the family, and it is exactly moments like this that continue to inspire me.
My experience at CAL has also completely changed my mindset and attitude. Back when I was working as a nurse, I had the belief that mental illness is a terminal sickness that a person will never recover from. I had the misconception that mental health patients would live with the illness for the rest of their lives, going through relapse after relapse. After working at CAL and witnessing the numerous cases of patients that have made positive recoveries and gone on to live meaningful lives, I now truly believe that recovery is possible as long as we don’t lose hope and are open to seeking help.
What do you do outside of work?
In my free time, I like to chill and connect with friends; I also find that doing yoga helps me relax and decompress after a long day. As a person who is curious about the world, I enjoy embarking on new adventures and learning about the different cultures and customs during my travels.
About Meet the Team
“Meet the Team” is a new series where we introduce some of our colleagues at CAL, and the ‘heart’ work they do here. Stay tuned for more, and feel free to ask us anything through our social media channels! Your questions may be featured in the next article.
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