IMPACT 0548: EMPOWERING STUDENTS TO MUTUALLY SUPPORT EACH OTHER THROUGH MENTAL HEALTH EDUCATION
Youth Action Challenge (YAC) is a platform for youth to provide solutions that tackle the issues we are concerned about. Since October 2021, over 80 teams and more than 310 youth have undertaken the YAC Season 3 journey.
Yaw Dong Jeun, 18, is currently studying at Anglo-Chinese Junior College and he is also the project manager for Team You’th. You’th aims to empower more youth to be better peer support for others in the form of an app, “SteadyBo”, which will be released in October. The app will contain educational courses, a share-and-reply system, and other features, so stay tuned.
Today he shares more about the project!
What was your role within your YAC project?
I was the project manager, I planned work and led the team. I scheduled meetings for the team and defined the outline and work breakdown structure of the project. I also communicated with my team to ensure that timelines were met.
What motivated you to join YAC?
YAC provided me with a platform to give back to the community and help those in need. YAC offered problem statements for us regarding the mental health area, which was something I was very interested in.I am really glad to have been able to play a part in shaping the mental health landscape in Singapore.
Can you share with us your experience with your YAC project?
The project was remarkably fun for me. The workshops were really engaging and as someone who had very little experience with start-ups, I learnt many things, such as how to define our target audience and how to pitch our ideas. These were very important in shaping our project into what it is today. One memorable experience was the “Consult Clinic”, where we consulted various professionals from different fields, such as User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) Designers, or experts from the mental health sector.
We received very qualitative feedback from our mentors on how to improve our project. My teammates were also a delight to work with. They made my journey in YAC enjoyable and although there were times where we felt pressured due to the deadlines we had to meet, we worked as closely as we could with one another and managed to pull through and complete the Open Mic pitch.
What are some challenges you faced while working on your YAC project?
As a student, I had to juggle between both school and YAC. Juggling between two such huge commitments was quite difficult initially, but soon, I got used to it and learnt how to manage my time wisely. Thankfully, I also had very understanding teammates who were able to support me and carry some of my responsibilities during my exam seasons.
Another challenge we faced was also gathering mental health knowledge. As none of us had any experience in the mental health field, we had to search for and contact mental health practitioners with experience in the areas that we planned to include in our app. It was a challenge as not only did we have to find the suitable mental health practitioners, we had to consider how we were going to keep them accountable for whatever information they give us.
Could you share more on how your project has a positive impact?
Our project’s solution is an app, and it serves two primary goals.
Firstly, we want to encourage youth to learn how to support their peers effectively through educational courses. Based on a survey we conducted for youth from upper secondary to pre-university who want to support peers, we found that 80 per cent and 65 per cent of the respective respondents did not find the peer support network programmes and peer support training workshops helpful.
In response, we intend to provide self-paced educational courses whereby content is provided and certified by mental health professionals. These courses will also be scenario-based and gamified as doing so has been proven to make the learning process more enjoyable and engaging.
Secondly, we also want to encourage youth to share about their troubles in a safe space, and for others in that community to provide their thoughts and personal experiences in a bid to support other users. We also hope for users to apply and practise their learnings immediately after they have undergone the courses, through sharing and replying in the same application. This is especially since they are now more equipped to provide accurate support or share effectively after undergoing the relevant courses we have provided.
Having the learning, sharing and support aspects all in one application can help to reduce users’ apprehensiveness to share or support, thereby empowering them to continue doing so in future. We intend on programming the app such that app posting and replying are completely anonymous. Instead of regular usernames and profile pictures, we provide randomised set usernames and animal avatars. This means that users would not feel judged when they share or reply.