Increasing support for youth in recovery

Admiring the artistic talent of YouthReach mentees

Admiring the artistic talent of YouthReach mentees

Sunny, 19, was diagnosed with Depression and Schizophrenia. His hallucinations caused him to become more reclusive and to self-mutilate. According to the Mental Health Survey*, conditions like Major Depressive Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Alcohol Abuse affect many youths like Sunny.

Recognising that help for youths was limited, the Singapore Association for Mental Health set up YouthReach in 2006 to provide much needed support.In 2010, helped by funding from Temasek Cares, YouthReach extended its services to include a mentoring programme and a 24-hour hotline. This enhanced programme will eventually reach out to more than 165 youths and 340 caregivers. Aside from counselling, home visits and individualised goal-setting for those affected, volunteers also lead activities like Yoga, sailing and art classes. Caregivers are equipped with skills and knowledge to better manage the youths’ condition.

YouthReach has also widened its focus to include at-risk youths with psychological or emotional issues, encouraging a larger group to seek professional help early and to receive the medical attention they need.In Sunny’s case, YouthReach worked closely with him, his doctor and case worker to develop the most suitable ways to manage his illness. Through psycho-education, Sunny’s family also got a better understanding of his condition, enabling them to provide the support he needs. Thanks to these efforts, Sunny is now better able to manage his condition and has since attended vocational training in retail sales.

Sunny is just one of YouthReach’s many success stories. About 90% of the programmes’s participants have successfully reintegrated into their families and society.*Source: The Straits Times, 18 November 2011