May 17, 2019Back to list
By Tan Khye Suan, Executive Director
In the February 2019 issue of our newsletter, I asked the question: “Where do we go from here?”
This is an important question that we must answer to determine the long-term direction of Epworth Community Services. As the organisation grows, we want to be very focused on what we are doing and be very relevant, so that our contributions help children and youth in our society.
One issue that has been coming to our attention is the mental well-being of children and youth. Our existing programmes and services are already addressing some aspects of mental well-being. These include our literacy programmes for children with learning needs due to developmental challenges; behavioural modification programmes for children with impulse control issues and poor coping skills; and, treatment for children with abusive backgrounds and complex trauma. But more can be done, especially pre-emptive work.
Perhaps, it is good to define mental well-being at this point. Simply put, mental well-being is about having good mental health. All of us will agree that good mental health is important. Good mental health helps us to function optimally everyday. But what do we understand about good mental health?
We often associate good mental health as being free of depression, anxiety, or other psychological issues.
This is a misconception and a very narrow definition.
Good mental health is not just the absence of mental health problems. It is about the presence of positive characteristics; how we think, feel and act as we cope with our lives. These positive characteristics determine how we handle stress, relate to others and make choices.
Hence, promoting mental well-being is about putting pre-emptive and proactive programmes and services in place that can help children and youth cultivate positive characteristics. It is about equipping children and youth with better coping skills that will eventually help them to better manage their own stress; build better relationships with others; and, make better and responsible decisions.
Studies have also shown that strong and stable family environments and good parenting are positive and protective factors that promote mental well-being. Therefore, the need to support families, especially those with difficulties and challenges, is an important aspect of our work to help promote good mental well-being of children and youth.
Hence, we have decided that as an organisation, we will continue to help at-risk children and youth from needy and disadvantaged families. We want to create a better world for them so that they can develop their potential. Our work will now focus on promoting the mental well-being of children and youths by building strong families and imparting skills for resilient living.
The new vision adopted by the Board for Epworth Community Services is:
Apart from existing programmes and services that are already promoting mental well-being, we look forward to adding more that will help children and youth learn how to:
• take charge of their mental health
• build their mental resilience
• manage life’s ups and downs
We will also step up and enhance our parenting programmes and help parents who may already be having mental health challenges within their families. As an organisation, we will equip our staff to contribute even more towards the mental well-being of children and youths in Singapore.
As Epworth Community Services boldly moves forward with our vision, we ask that friends and stakeholders continue to support us with prayers and resources to bless our community.
The important work of Epworth Community Services is funded primarily by generous well- wishers who strongly believe in our cause.read more