In conjunction with World Mental Health Day on 10 October this year, we launched a book, Brave Young Hearts, a collection of stories by five youths from CPAS School.
DEALING WITH OTHERS’ LOOKS AND THE FEAR OF BEING DIFFERENT
We struggled when dealing with the looks and stares of other people, when we were
growing up. When one of us was young, “I used to not like going out and rather hide at
home. I did not like other children looking at me at the playground. I just liked to hide inside
my room for no reason”. “Fear” would come and disturb us, the fear of being different.
Going out was not as enjoyable and making friends was difficult.
‘Brave Young Hearts’ is a collective document that was developed through a series of sessions using Narrative Therapy. Through these sessions, the students shared their social-emotional struggles with a psychologist in CPAS who then guide them with coping skills to build their resilience. The book highlights the often forgotten side of youth with cerebral palsy and multiple disabilities in CPAS – their mental well-being. Through the collection of these stories, these youths shared their thoughts and feelings that often do not make it into daily conversations. They provided insights into how they express gratitude, which might be different for a young adult with added needs.
Ms Chng Jia Hui, associate psychologist and editor of the book, said, “This book is a safe platform for students to share their feelings and thoughts. Through this process, I hope that we begin to see these youths as a person first, then their different abilities. They may express or learn differently, but they are very much aware of the support they receive from people around their lives. I hope that this book also acts as a tool for these youth to advocate for their own needs, and empower others with their stories of resilience and gratitude. By allowing them to share, it allows us to understand how these youths can meaningfully contribute and help us to learn that inclusion is also accepting their form of expression.”
BEING THERE FOR ME NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS
We love our family for being there for us no matter what happens. One of us told our
psychologist that our mother is like a real superhero. One of our mothers had told us that
“she will take care of me no matter what happens to me”. I want to say “thank you” to her,
but I may not know how to do so.
Young People and Mental Health in A Changing World
This year’s World Mental Health Day focuses on investing in programmes to raise awareness among adolescents and young adults of ways to look after their mental health. According to the World Health Organization, half of all mental illness begins by the age of 14, but most cases go undetected or untreated. As such, investing in programmes for young adults need to be extended to their parents, teachers and peers so that they can know how to support their children, students and friends.
Download the book by scanning the QR code or click here.
Download the press release here.