We organized “Let’s check-in” roadshow for the students today and it was a resounding success! 🎉
Events on campus are usually very festive and can feel like a bit of a touch-and-go but we have been trying to be creative with our outreach so students engage in a wellbeing intervention and leave with a meaningful takeaway.
Our event giveaway was Famous Amos 🍪 cookies. In order to redeem the cookies, the students played “Let’s unpack this” conversational card game. Happiness Initiative trained the counsellors, SMU Peer Helpers and SMU Psychology Society to facilitate the game. The students swarmed in individually and with their friends. Within the first 2 hours, our cookies were fully redeemed. Luckily, https://www.linkedin.com/company/happiness-initiative/SMU is within the city centre so we went to purchase more cookies as we had 3 more hours to go! 🤩
We also partnered Viriya Community Services where students were invited to fill up a quick online form to obtain an individualized mental wellness profile. ☀️ The profile included mental health symptoms, general functioning, and personal values. With the brief snapshot, the students had the option of having a discussion with one of the mental health professionals from Viriya. ✨
On 6 February 2024, we hosted a fireside chat ‘To be or not to be… attached” with Kenneth Tan, one of the professors of psychology. Lim Mou Nyee, our Senior Counsellor, hosted a lively session with our students. Kenneth shared some insights about the research on relationships and singlehood and students enquired about whether it was better to be in a relationship or single. The students realized that the answer was not that straightforward as it depends whether the relationship was positive or not. It does not mean that one has to be in a romantic relationship in order to have a positive wellbeing because it is really about the quality of our relationships, with family, friends, co-workers and the community.
We started off the year with a workshop on “Cultivate your best possible self” by Simon Leow from Happiness Initiative. Our team is really glad to have an ongoing partnership with Happiness Initiative since last year when we brought “Let’s unpack this” game to Mental Health Week 2023 in Singapore Management University.
The participants of the workshop learnt the wellbeing goal of “Setting Daily Purposeful Goals” by exploring what truly matters and gaining insights on what is important to us, our interests and our strengths. The participants enjoyed engaging in the “What truly matters”, a conversational card game that explores what truly matters in the domains of career, love and personal growth. They reflected on their values, goals and aspirations through thought-provoking questions and prompts.
The participants enjoyed the session so much that they asked for more workshops like these and shared that they are looking forward to the next event that we organize.
A season of kindness
World Kindness Day is observed on 13 November every year, in dedication to promoting and celebrating acts of kindness. This year, Mrs Wong Kwok Leong Student Wellness Centre invited students to pledge their participation in the “22 Day Kindness Challenge” at a roadshow held on 10 November. The event has organised in collaboration with the SMU Peer Helpers and the Singapore Kindness Movement.
You may be wondering what kindness has to do with strengthening our emotional resilience and fostering resilient communities. Take time to recall how you felt when you were kind to another person or when someone showed your kindness when you did not expect it. Acts of kindness have been shown to increase empathy and compassion, self-esteem and mood. It can also lower your blood pressure and cortisol, which correlates with stress. Being kind benefits your relationships and makes you feel more connected with others, thus reducing feelings of loneliness.
Students will receive daily prompts as a reminder to be kind to themselves and to others as they enter the examination period of the term. Due to the stressors and pressures of assessments, we recognise that students may be a little more prone to being hard on themselves which can be detrimental to their wellbeing. Hence, we would like to remind students to extend those same kind intentions and behaviours to themselves.
During the event, students shared encouraging messages on the Kindness Wall and made bracelets and keychains for their friends. They also wrote letters to friends and family to express thoughts of kindness and appreciation. There were notepads, post-its pads, stickers and pouches from the Singapore Kindness Movement. Students were excited to meet Singa the Kindness Lion and Smoo Smoo at the World Kindness Day roadshow as well.
The Purple Parade is Singapore’s largest movement that supports inclusion and celebrates abilities of persons with disabilities. This year’s celebration was held on 4 November at Suntec City, and we saw the largest turnout of 13,000 people. About 120 groups participated in the contingent march, one of their signature events. In a powerful display of unity and support for inclusivity, students, staff and families of SMU donned in a sea of purple as we marched with enthusiasm, in solidarity with the tremendously energetic crowd gathered to support the very same cause.
Mental Health Week 2023, with its focus on building emotional resilience, left a lasting impact on both students and staff. The event was held from 9-13 Oct 2023 and featured an array of interactive booths, offering hands-on and reflective exercises designed to promote mental well-being.
In addition to the engaging booths, fringe activities, such as the "Human Library" event, were organised as well. The "Human Library" event captured the hearts and minds of participants, and provided a unique opportunity for students and staff to 'read' the stories of 'human books,' who shared their personal journeys and triumphs in overcoming life's challenges.
Another standout fringe activity during Mental Health Week 2023 was "Cafe Conversations." This innovative initiative encouraged students and staff to visit various partner cafes on and off campus, where specially curated MHW set offerings were available for purchase. To facilitate meaningful interactions, conversation starters were thoughtfully placed on the tables, inspiring patrons to engage in genuine and empathetic dialogues.
Mental Health Week 2023 served as a vital platform for fostering mental health awareness and resilience within the university community, encouraging open dialogues and a deeper understanding of the human experience.
Even though Mental Health Week 2023 is over, do check out the Feelings Wheel along the concourse near the SOA B1 Lift Lobby to revisit learning more about emotions, as well as the SMU Newsroom article covering our event in greater detail!
The Healing Power of the Arts workshop conducted by SAMH Creative Hub on September 28 2023 provided attendees with a meaningful and enriching experience. Through hands-on engagement, participants explored the therapeutic value of art as a mode of self-expression and self-care, leaving with valuable insights into the profound impact creativity can have on their well-being.
In conjunction with World Suicide Prevention Day (10 Sep), a roadshow was held along the concourse on 8 September 2023. This roadshow was a collaboration between the Wellness Centre and SMU Peer Helpers. They seek to raise awareness and equip students with knowledge and information to support peers in distress.
Counsellors from the Wellness Centre, alongside the Peer Helpers engaged students in informal quick chats on topics like goal setting and uncovering personal resources towards resilience.
The event generated meaningful conversations, with students taking away invaluable lessons both for themselves and their friends who might be in need.
Check out our roadshow in action!
Take a look at what is inside "My Coping Toolkit".
Gathered in The Hive on 31 Aug 2023, students engaged in a meaningful discussion with our wonderful panelists on the challenges in navigating change, learning to adapt and embracing these challenges as welcomed experiences. Our esteemed panel included Assistant Professor of Psychology Andree Hartanto, YPHSL Alumnus Josh Lee and SOSS Year 2 Student Erika Fam. The discussion was moderated by the Head of Mrs Wong Kwok Leong Student Wellness Centre Michelle Koay.
Participants and Panelists reflected on the importance of asking the why question, and developing a personal narrative to anchor themselves in turbulent times. They also expressed appreciation for the support systems they have established and credited those as another key pillar in navigating changes.
Inaugurated in November 2013, THE PURPLE PARADE is a unifying national platform to promote awareness and celebrate abilities of Persons with Disabilities. The core of The Purple Parade movement is to ensure that Persons with Disabilities are included in the main chapter of Singapore’s growth and have equal access to education, employment, transport and social networks. It is a ground-up movement spearheaded by various organizations from the People, Public and Private, and supported by the Central Singapore Community Development Council (CDC).
SMU being the first inclusive university in Singapore had always shown its support towards Purple Parade. Annually SMU had participated actively in various events such as Purple Parade Marching, submitting of pledges and disability related videos, purchasing of purple parade merchandise and supporting the various other activities which was held on the actual event day.
29 October 2022, SMU Purple, some postgraduate students from Lee Kong Chian School of Business and Disability Support Services office staff came together to form a marching contingent as one SMU and participated in the Purple Parade which was held at Suntec City to support inclusion and celebrate abilities of persons with disabilities.
Mental Heath Week 2022 was held from 18 - 21 Oct 2022 and the theme ‘Get Active, Feel Good’ emphasised the importance of physical resilience. The idea that different facets of physical resilience - sleep, nutrition, physical activity and creating a safe environment for oneself - have a correlation with our overall mental wellbeing was brought up through the various programmes organised. Programmes included booths, a food recipe challenge, lunchtime exercise classes, workshops and talks for the SMU Community to learn more about physical resilience.