Changing Minds Welcomes YouthTech Program Trainee

Changing Minds was recently chosen as an official YouthTech partner organisation for 2021.  YouthTech was launched by The Ministry of Culture, Community & Youth and the National Youth Council to provide young graduates and working adults, up to 35 years old, with full-time traineeship opportunities in the community and social sectors in the areas of technology and digitalisation. The YouthTech program is designed to develop future-ready youth through meaningful work experience in digital projects, and in supporting digital transformation in the community and social sectors.

 Changing Minds has engaged YouthTech Technical Specialist Trainee, Dylan Wang, to work on several in-house projects, including the design, development and testing of an innovative mobile youth mentoring application as well as an online social impact measurement and reporting platform for use by community serving organisations, being developed in partnership with Singapore based insights and productivity company, Acxtron.  Dylan will be working closely with a team of experienced designers and developers and play a crucial role in the project development process.

Dylan, who graduated from Singapore Management University with a double major in Psychology and Corporate Communications also has experience and a strong interest in data analytics and coding.  Both skills and experience important in his role at Changing Minds.

“Changing Minds is excited to have Dylan join our team.  He brings a range of highly applicable skills, knowledge and experience to the projects he will be working on, skills that aren’t that easy to find in a single candidate.  We feel privileged to have Dylan on board and look forward to working with him over the next 6 to 12 months” said Andrew Rigg, Changing Minds CEO.

“When we first heard about the YouthTech program we were keen to get involved and support the initiative.  As a small non-profit that is volunteer run, having the opportunity to both gain a human resource and support a young person as they develop their skills and career fit really well with our objectives as a youth development organisation.” said Mr Rigg

Changing Minds applauds the implementation of the YouthTech initiative and hopes to continue as a YouthTech partner in future iterations of the program.

Changing Minds Welcome’s New Board Member

Changing Minds is excited to welcome Mr Lawrence Chua as the newest member of our Board of Directors. Lawrence brings a wealth of experience in the corporate and start-up sector to the team.

Lawrence has over 17 years of experience in the Software industry and is currently responsible for Business Operations and University for Lark, ByteDance for international markets.

He is passionate about bringing sustainability to a commercial setting, and strongly believes in the value of environmentally-friendly businesses of tomorrow. As such he serves as the lead for the Sustainability Interest Group and is also an active member for TikTok ForGood APAC.

He also serves on the board of directors for Insect Feed Technologies in Singapore, a biotechnology startup focusing on upcycling food waste and producing insect protein that addresses UNSDG 14 and UNSDG15.

He is a firm believer in startups and an early stage angel investor, as well as business advisor to multiple startups such as WhyQ, AiChat Pte Ltd and Brydge.

He is the Chairman for Sustainability Risk Chapter at the Risk and Insurance Management Association of Singapore, advocating the need to address risks and enforce standards on sustainability in organisations.

Volunteer Training Co-Facilitators Join the Changing Minds Team

Changing Minds is excited to welcome two new volunteer Training Co-Facilitators to our Training Services Team – Gabriel Tay & Praveen Krishna. Gabriel and Praveen are currently undertaking a 10 week social enterprise training program with our international partners and will be involved in the delivery of our suite of cutting edge social enterprise, innovation and design programs in the near future.

Please join us in welcoming them to the Changing Minds team!

Watch this space and sign up for news and updates on the Changing Minds website (www.changingminds.co) to find out more about our programs, when we are launching and to be in the running for limited free places in our first course later this year.

NEW ORGANISATION TACKLES YOUTH MENTAL HEALTH FROM A UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE

Singapore is home to a new youth focussed mental health organisation, Changing Minds Limited (Changing Minds), approaching a serious issue from a novel perspective.

Officially launched in April, Changing Minds tackles the issue of youth mental health and wellbeing from an Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) perspective, an established approach new to Singapore and the Singaporean mental health sector.

Changing Minds targets the community at large, bringing together consulting services, cutting edge training programs and community partnerships to support individual grassroots “operatives”, informal collectives, social enterprise and the formal youth sector to develop, design and deliver clinically informed prevention and early intervention initiatives and ventures. Complementing the usual delivery of clinical or professional youth support services.

“Our constituents can be anyone; from an individual with an interest in making a difference in their community but not knowing how to start, to issue specific organisations that work with youth, or businesses that employ young people but don’t fully understand or know how to support them in mental health and wellbeing related matters, and everything in between.  It involves connecting people and collaboration from across the community and it sectors” Andrew Rigg.

Evidence from around the world shows this approach works. In fact, community driven prevention and early intervention approaches have been essential components of all major global population health campaigns for many years and are a recognised, though not yet widely applied, essential part of the battle to address and support young people experiencing mental health issues.

“When thinking about mental health, as well as the immediate effects, we also need to think about the long-term ones.  We know that in many cases, when a young person starts experiencing symptoms, three quarters of them don’t seek help.  We also know the longer a person waits to seek support, the greater the likelihood their condition will get worse.  This gap between first experiencing symptoms and first seeking help, is known as the “treatment gap”.  And in Singapore this gap, for young people, is between 4 and 11 years.  Now that’s a long time and by the time they seek help, receive support or a diagnosis and begin treatment, they are well into adulthood and their condition is probably negatively affecting their lives – their quality of life, relationships with friends and family, their ability to study, and work.  It’s our aim to play a part in reducing that treatment gap, ensuring young people are able to seek help earlier, that they have a better understanding of their own mental health and they know when, where and how to seek help.  When this happens, everyone benefits – the young person, society and even the economy.”  Andrew Rigg

In 2019 it was reported that mental health related issues impacted the Singapore economy by more than $3billion dollars and this amount is increasing annually.  By 2030, mental health is forecast to cost the global economy more than US$30trillion annually.

Changing Minds delivers services through partnerships with local organisers and operatives, service organisations, the clinical mental health sector and international partners and is underpinned by principles of Asset Based Community Development.  ABCD is characterised by ‘ground up’ rather than ‘top down’ approaches – focussing on unlocking the potential that already exists in the community to innovate and find solutions to the issues they face for themselves.

“ABCD informs us the answer to most community issues can be found in the community itself; that enormous potential for action and change exists in the community but often needs help to be realised.  Cross community cooperation and collaboration has an essential role to play in unlocking that potential, and that’s where Changing Minds comes in. We are experienced ABCD practitioners and service designers with almost 20 years of experience in the field. Our role is to help coordinate the process, providing the keys, so to speak, through listening to the different voices in the community, especially the voices of young people and delivering contextualised consultation services, fostering collaboration, providing accessible access to the latest cutting-edge training and catalysing the development of new, innovative solutions from within the community and through our community partnerships. Ultimately creating an environment where our young people are supported at every turn and mental health in general, is normalised, humanised.”  Andrew Rigg

KEY YOUTH MENTAL HEALTH POINTS

  • Around 1 in 4 young people in Singapore are experiencing mental health issues with 18-to-34-year old’s most affected.
  • According to Samaritans of Singapore, suicide is the leading cause of death in young people aged between 10 and 29 years.
  • According to anecdotal research, deaths by suicide are also under-reported.
  • According to a report on CNA in late 2020, three quarters of young people experiencing mental health symptoms do not seek help.
  • The median time taken between a young person first experiencing symptoms and first seeking help is between 4 and 11 years – even at the lower end of the spectrum, by this time the likelihood of mental health affecting quality of life, relationships, work and study is significantly increased.
  • According to the International Journal of Mental Health, clinically informed, multidisciplinary prevention and early intervention approaches have the greatest impact on people’s mental health and wellbeing.
  • Youth Mental Health is a recognised global issue, Singapore’s data is equivalent to the global data.
  • The Lancet Commission on Global Mental Health and Sustainable Development reports that by 2030, mental health will cost the global economy US$30 trillion.

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