Priscilla Diana, 24, works in the Visual Arts industry, and has been on a journey to help youth who struggle with mental health issues. In the future, she hopes to create a platform that uses art to help those with mental health issues and reduce the stigma they face.

She works with Limitless, a non-profit in Singapore that advocates for youth empowerment.

Tell us more about what you do with volunteering!

I have been volunteering with an organisation called Limitless for the past four years. Limitless just launched an initiative on messaging platform Discord for youth who are seeking help for their mental health or want to be in a space where there are other youth who can relate to what they are going through.

I was part of the pioneering phase of this initiative and have a buddy/moderator role, so I chat with these youth about their lives and the things they go through. I hope, in some small way, I have managed to leave an impact on them, as much as they have left one in my life. Talking to them really opened up a whole new avenue of learning about the difficult lives of other people.

Is there a reason why you are passionate about helping those who struggle with mental health?

When I was younger, I had no idea how to cope healthily with what I was going through (depression, anxiety, burning out). I also realised that there were a lot of people around me who had no idea why they were feeling a particular way or how to deal with these emotions, and thus, took it out on others.

When I found out about Limitless and their work to help young people cope with mental health issues, I decided that I wanted to help and serve as a bridge to connect youth to the help they need. I wanted to be someone I wished I had when I was younger.

Is this something you’ll continue doing in future?

I plan to start a space or a platform that brings both the arts and mental health together, such as art therapy. I aim to end the stigma that people have towards mental health issues and to start a movement where mental health is more talked about so people are more aware of where they can go to seek help. I also hope to help make therapy more accessible and normalised for people.

What has been your biggest struggle in volunteering?

My ability to empathise with others and what they’re going through can sometimes cause me to burnout quickly because I unknowingly carry their issues in my heart. Learning how to let go and draw better boundaries is something that I still struggle with a lot. But I am slowly learning how to deal with this in a healthy manner, and I have a strong support group that gives me the support and encouragement I need.

What makes you continue despite the burnout you sometimes feel?

There are definitely days where I feel like shutting down and giving up altogether, but I always look back at the three main reasons why I do this work.

  1. Because of the people who never gave up on me
  2. Despite the people who did give up on me
  3. To become the person I needed when I was younger

I also have friends and family who support me in what I do. They always remind me of the reasons why I am volunteering in the first place. Remembering where I come from, what my values are and what I am passionate about really keeps me going.

Is there a memorable event throughout your journey in building the mental health space?

I was involved in building a mobile game app titled A Day In The Life, a role playing game (RPG) where the players can experience what it is like to be someone with depression. The game navigates through daily tasks and activities that might seem easy and effortless to someone without depression, but is hard and weary for someone suffering from it.

Each decision you make in this role will have an impact on what happens next. Over the past year, it has garnered more than 600 downloads. It was memorable and I am thankful that more people will be exposed to the reality of mental health issues, so they are more aware of them and more understanding towards those who struggle with mental illness.

This article was published on Aug 28, 2021

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