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Mental Safety Week

We all saw the Joker (not Russell Wang, the actual movie). A deranged, mentally ill clown killing people for satisfaction. Some of us saw ‘Split’, where a man with 26 personalities kidnaps three girls. Manic, unpredictable, and violent – that is how most mentally ill people are, aren’t they?

Ok, perhaps that is an exaggeration. Aren’t people with mental health issues those with no friends? The ones in our class that never smiled or talked to anyone. Either way, aren’t these people few and far between? Marking our very first Mental Safety Week in Kent Ridge Hall, let us debunk these myths and find out the truth, so that our KR family can be KRafe and Sound!

Contrary to popular belief, stereotypes or even memes like the one above, mental health issues are far more prevalent than you may think. The lifetime prevalence of mental illness in the Singapore resident population is 12%. If you put that into perspective, that could be one of your friends staying on your floor… so let’s do our part to help, and not perpetuate these negative stereotypes!

Furthermore, youth are more susceptible to developing them due the pressures that come with growing up, with half of all mental illnesses occurring before 14. Just imagine the stress you get from the upcoming finals, and impending project deadlines. With the challenges we face in the rat-race that is our education system, it is important to remember to take care of the mental well-being not only of ourselves, but also of those around us.

With Mental Safety Week taking place, we can do just that by joining in on the Motivational Board in the dining hall! Just head down this week to place encouraging notes on it, and make the positive impact of cheering someone up, even if it is for an unfamiliar face. Read on more for tips on the Mental Health Quiz happening later on too, with attractive prizes to be won!

The most common mental health issues are anxiety disorders (e.g, panic disorder, OCD), mood disorders, eating disorders, personality disorders, and psychotic disorders. Among the aforementioned, mood and anxiety disorders are the most prevalent.

However, suffering from a mental illness could stem from a myriad of different factors, from intrinsic to extrinsic ones. One’s genes, personal experiences, alcohol consumption (this is why we should not drink, especially in hall!), or loneliness may cause it to happen to anyone, even if we never expected them to. Mental illnesses do not discriminate based on socio-economic background or intelligence, and we must bear in mind that people develop it through absolutely no fault of their own.

Yet, more than 75% of people with mental illnesses do not seek help for their condition. This is often due to the negative stigmatisation of mental illnesses, which may lead to a fear of being viewed differently. Fortunately, there has been a shifting perception towards mental health, with more people in society receptive towards helping solve these issues.

If celebrities like Lady Gaga, Zayn Malik and even THE ROCK have been challenging the stigmatisation of mental illnesses by coming forth with their struggles, we must do it too!

Unfortunately, the subjective nature of emotions makes it tougher for people to ascertain if they require medical help. However, it is better to err on the side of caution, as early detection and treatment significantly reduces the time taken to recovery! Even if you think you feel fine, it is perfectly fine to book an appointment with a counsellor just to let your pent-up emotions out and ask for advice.

Hence, never feel afraid to reach out for help. Within KR, your peers, the RFs and the Hall Master will always welcome you with open arms! In NUS, the university also provides counselling services (University Counselling Services), which is a safe and private space for you to have a friendly chat with one of the professional counsellors.

Safety Committee also engaged KR residents to take part in 2 workshops - terrarium-making and canvas-expression, to improve mental health and take a break from our stressful work! Getting able to keep the terrariums and canvasses they made definitely gave them all a more memorable Mental Safety Week. Participants thoroughly enjoyed themselves and gave positive feedback, having learned a lot more about the importance of mental health. In addition, check out the TikToks made by our residents! I’m sure we all look forward to another mental safety week next semester.

To round up, we never know when a person around us is battling through something we may know absolutely nothing about. Do check out the Instagram page (@krafeandsound) for Mental Safety Week, and let us all be kind and supportive to one another and help each other out in this high-pressure environment. Never feel afraid to reach out for help if you think you need it. After all, as Zac Efron once said, we are all in this together <3.

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