If we think about doctors, counsellors, therapists, nurses, we can identify that they help people with issues concerning their well-being. But when they need help, who looks out for them?
For Blythe, she knew that being in such an industry can get stressful. With the expectation to be upbeat and ready to help people out with their problems, many people in these professions feel emotionally burdened. She decided that practitioners need to know how to care for themselves so that they can better care for others, prompting her to embark on Our Journey, a social enterprise that provides support and institutional training primarily for those in the caregiver profession.
“As primary caregivers, we are expected to care for others, but we need people to look out for us too” The mental-health scene in Singapore is not as robust as it should be, and to a large extent, a stigma still exists. For caregivers in Singapore, it can be especially tough to get that kind of help. Here is how Our Journey plugs that gap:
A typical day at Our Journey would comprise of handling distress hotlines, scheduling talks and seeing clients that come in for counselling.
According to Blythe, many nurses call in because they cannot deal with the stress that comes from being a nurse. Nurses have to manage many things, assist doctors and liaise with concerned family members. WIth many policies to adhere to a service dominated environment, nurses have to actually go for intensive training sessions that teach them a variety of skills. This need to be good in multiple aspects, customer service, administrative work, effective communication and interpersonal skills, can lead to long work hours that can be emotionally and physically demanding.
Many are actually subjected to verbal abuse and end up feeling helpless and distressed. For instances like these, a helpline is useful because they can get immediate support and book an appointment if necessary. In fact, some hospitals engage such services and the team at Our Journey does “crisis debriefing” and sharing sessions to encourage and let these nurses know that they are not alone.
For most, these are circumstances that probably never crossed our minds, demonstrating the lack of awareness of mental health struggles in such industries.
On top of engaging over helplines, Our Journey conducts programmes and talks aimed at personal development, emotional intelligence for children and even provides employment opportunities for homebound patients.
Children’s Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Programme
Candle making by home-bound patients
With the larger aim of doing good for the community, there are unique volunteering opportunities too.
The idea of “self-care” has been expounded upon in recent years, but in actuality, not many people know how to balance their hectic lifestyles or manage their emotions in a healthy way. Conducting such workshops, talks and activities can help people explore various self-care techniques to strike a better work-life balance and promote a positive mindset.
With so many things going on in our lives, it may not be easy to extend a helping hand. However, by approaching such cases with more understanding, you too can make a difference.
It is not easy taking care of patients that need round the clock care and it is so easy to neglect one’s own physical and mental health in the process. By being more understanding and spreading awareness of the demands of their job, we as a society can treat caregivers with more kindness and appreciation.
Our Journey is listed as a social enterprise under RaiSE and aims “To inspire hope and contribute to the Well-being of individuals” As a social enterprise, they provide business solutions to address unmet and emerging social needs. For more information, potential collaborations or volunteering opportunities, you can visit their website.