Photo credit: SING LIT STATION

Mental health festival by Migrant Writers of Singapore, Sing Lit Station to be held on Oct 9

The festival is free and open to the public.

Fitri Mahad

Probably the only person that likes to hear the koels go ‘uwu’.

Published: 8 September 2022, 5:35 PM

Members of the public can now learn more about mental health awareness alongside the migrant community through the Mental Health Awareness & Wellbeing Festival.

Organised in collaboration between Migrant Writers of Singapore and Sing Lit Station, the event will be held at the Tzu Chi Humanistic Youth Centre on Oct 9.

The festival seeks to encourage conversations about mental health stigma and the everyday experiences of the migrant community, according to the organisers.

Migrant Writers of Singapore is a collective of migrant literature enthusiasts. It offers migrant artists a “platform to develop and enhance their talents”, said the organisation.

The festival’s programmes revolve around mental health and features in chronological order: a panel discussion, play, storytelling session, brief talk, poetry reading and ends with a mindfulness and meditation activity.

Starting off the festival is a panel discussion titled Resilience: Playing To Our Strengths. It features a variety of panellists such as Dr Carol Loi from the Singapore Red Cross Academy and Evelyn Obillo, a volunteer at the Centre for Domestic Employees. The discussion taps into the panellists’ experiences on mental health, resilience, support initiatives and available resources.

This is followed by a play on mental health, titled Breach of Mind. It peeks into the intersecting lives of a mental health advocate, a depressed migrant construction worker and a mental health counsellor.

The play is produced by writers Akm Mazharul Abedin, Rachel Nip, Sonia Serrenade. Hailing from Bangladesh, Akm Mazharul Abedin works in a petrochemical refinery. Sonia Serrenade is an Indonesian domestic helper who volunteers with Migrant Writers in Singapore.

Next, Dimple Kaur will host a storytelling session, titled This is Me: Stories on Mental Health. The session shows how focusing on the ordinary, everyday things can help with emotional wellbeing and new perspectives. Dimple Kaur also runs a Tiktok account to assist Punjabi helpers.

Afterwards, participants can listen to a short talk by mental health professional Serene Goh. A Look At Mental Illness provides a brief overview of common mental illnesses and how they can affect one’s lives.

Subsequently, poets Abu Ubaidah Bin Eliase, Jedidiah Huang, Lorelyn De la Cruz Arevalo, Rema Tabangcura and Stephanie Dogfoot will lead participants in a poetry reading session.

Titled Laughter is Medicine, the session “draws from the common attitude of play found in both poetry and humour”, according to the organisers’ event page. It aims to help participants look at situations from a “different perspective” and “empower a greater sense of control”.

The programme ends with a mindfulness and meditation session by Chua Ning Pei. She is the producer of “DO YOU SEE ME?”, a migrant storytelling exhibition showcase. In this session, participants can take away grounding practices that can be done anywhere.

The festival will be held from 1pm to 5pm. Entry is free and open to all.

Those interested can RSVP or learn more about the programmes on the festival’s sign-up form.

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