Singapore, August 23, 2021 – Against the backdrop of increasing youth mental health issues in Singapore, aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic, Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) has developed initiatives for the well-being of its students and a post-graduate programme to build capabilities of those who work with youths.
A. Workshops and activities for student well-being
From January to July this year, the University has curated and conducted a slew of holistic programmes for the well-being of its students.
SUSS President, Professor Cheong Hee Kiat, said: “As a social-focus university, we are committed to taking care of the well-being of our youths and our students. We organised activities to provide inclusive preventive support for our undergraduate and postgraduate students, regardless whether they are full-or part-time learners.”
The programmes include:
1. Exam Welfare Packs by SUSS OWLs (Our Well-being Listeners)
An initiative to cheer students on during stressful examination period. The welfare pack contains food items, crossword puzzles and a stress ball to help students de-stress amidst their revision.
2. Well-being Workshops
Students learn how to bring their mind into a state that is calm, clear, and focused, including practising mindful breathing, journaling, and interactive exercises in mindful conversation.
- SUSS Muay Thai Certification Programme
This workshop is aimed at promoting physical well-being of students. In collaboration with VF Fitness, the SUSS Muay Thai Certification Programme aims to train participants basic Muay Thai techniques as a form of self-defence. Participants will also acquire the relevant recognition for their efforts by being awarded the Khan 2 certification after successful completion of the programme.
- Transforming Your Inner Critic into Your Inner Cheerleader Workshop
This workshop aims to help students:
- Understand the connection between thoughts, emotions and behaviours
- Recognise the common types of cognitive distortions or Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTs)
- Increase awareness of thoughts patterns
- Learn different ways to challenge and replace ANTs with alternative rational thoughts
- Use a thought record to manage thoughts and emotions
- Discovering and Utilising the Keys to Happiness Workshop
This workshop aims to help students:
- Understand the five elements of psychological wellbeing and happiness (PERMA model)
- Learn practical ways to increase positive emotions daily
- Recognise the importance of gratitude to wellbeing
- Identify character strengths and how to use them at work, home and school
- Learn how to demonstrate empathy to develop positive relationships
- Identify practical ways to increase meaning in daily life
- Becoming an Overcomer: Turning Setbacks into Comebacks Workshop
This workshop aims to help students:
- Understand the definition of resilience
- Be aware that resilience skills can be developed
- Increase self-awareness of emotions and strengths
- Use positive self-talk to manage negativity
- Learn helpful habits to create a healthy routine
- Recognise the importance of social support
3. Wellness Seminar Series
- Boundaries: Lines & Limits
Conducted by Ms Ershvinder Kaur, the workshop was specially curated for students to learn about the topic of boundaries, especially in the context of interpersonal relationships and school-work-life balance.
Through hands-on activities and small group discussions, participants learnt about the core components of emotional intelligence – self-awareness, self-regulation and empathy.
- Transitioning to University: Freshmen to Flourishing
To support freshmen during their first few months of joining SUSS, we invited Mr John Lim, a registered social worker, professional speaker and consultant to share tips on how students can transition well and flourish in the University. Students learnt how to build anchors and personal purpose statements to guide them thrive on campus.
4. Well-being Events
Introduction to common mental health conditions through experiential activities and mental wellness techniques of self-awareness and thoughts reframing.
The event aims to provide students with the opportunity to get to know and locate some of the key facilities and amenities on campus while forming new connections within their cohort.
To promote a healthy lifestyle and enhance physical well-being within the SUSS community.
An info-networking session to learn about the different MBTI personalities while connecting with peers.
- Freshmen Befrienders Get-Together Session
A networking session for freshmen to meet their peers and seniors from their major. Activities include bonding games, SUSS trivia and conversation cards.
For more information on student wellness, click here
B. SUSS partners YWAS to build stronger capabilities to engage and support youths
The Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) today signed an agreement with Youth Work Association (Singapore) (YWAS) to jointly develop the Graduate Diploma in Youth Work Programme to better equip those who work with youths.
The agreement was inked by Associate Professor Lim Lee Ching, Dean, S R Nathan School of Human Development, SUSS; and Dr John Tan, President, YWAS. Mr Eric Chua, Parliamentary Secretary for Social and Family Development & Culture, Community and Youth, was the guest-of-honour.
There are over 110 agencies in the non-profit space, that engage youths through intervention programmes, community building activities and practical support. These programmes are delivered by stakeholders in different settings, including schools, communities or institutional settings.
There are also many other stakeholders that contribute to the wellbeing and development of youths as part of their day-to-day work. These include government agencies, education institutions, law enforcement agencies, grassroots and private organisations.
Many youth workers are usually psychologists, counsellors, social workers, even educators or someone with a degree. Not many are trained or skilled specifically in youth work.
Apart from developing the courses under the Graduate Diploma in Youth Work Programme, YWAS will grant a one-year professional membership to the graduands. The association leadership team members will provide counsel to the Programme advisory panel and teach in the courses.
Students of the Graduate Diploma will also have the opportunities to learn and gain experience at YWAS and its member organisations via their activities, events and programmes, either in a structured or non-structured manner.
Professor Cheong, who witnessed the MOU signing ceremony, said: “Youths are a significant part of our society and future generation of adults. We must pay attention to their well-being and development. With SUSS’s emphasis on the social sciences, it is natural for us to offer the Graduate Diploma in Youth Work programme. Also, with increasing concern on youth mental health, this programme is timely and aligns with the Singapore government’s push for greater youth mental wellness and to better support our youths.”
Associate Professor Lim said: “We are happy to partner YWAS to develop courses that will prepare more people with practical skills and insights of what’s affecting youths and how to better engage with, as well as support them.”
Dr Tan said: "We applaud SUSS for the launch of this programme. It's indeed a landmark event for the youth work sector in Singapore. We look forward to journeying together in equipping generations of youth workers for the betterment of youths in our nation."
SUSS’s Graduate Diploma in Youth Work
This programme aims to educate learners not only of the challenges facing youths, but to equip them with the scientific knowledge of working with and developing youths, and demonstrate to them the art behind having to build the trusting relationship with youths from where they are at.
The secondary aim is to produce trained and skilled adults working with youths in this VUCA world, worthy of being certified and considered credible, someone whom youths and parents alike trust to work with.
The programme is mapped against the National Youth Work Competency Framework, the Skills Framework for Youth Work in Social Service, and the Youth Work Association (Singapore)'s Code of Ethical Practice for Youth Workers. The educational objectives are tied to the Senior Youth Worker levels of competencies. There are two dimensions of growth:
- The impact and influence that the learner is able to contribute to the youth sector
- The ability to manage higher levels of sophistication and complexity for cases and issues
Mr Nicholas Gabriel Lim, Head of Graduate Diploma in Youth Work Programme, S R Nathan School of Human Development, SUSS said, “This programme is designed to help individuals understand and engage youths deeper and more effectively. We hear the cry of parents, caregivers as well as practitioners. The programme has a close partnership with the industry and we have veterans and experts on the team to lend support and to impart the necessary skills and knowledge.”
The Graduate Diploma in Youth Work Programme will start in January 2022.
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About the Singapore University of Social Sciences
Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) is a university with a rich heritage in inspiring lifelong education, and transforming society through social sciences. We develop work-ready graduates and work-adaptive alumni to their fullest potential through our 3H’s education philosophy – ‘Head’ for professional competency with applied knowledge, ‘Heart’ for social awareness to meet the needs of the society, and ‘Habit’ for passion towards lifelong learning.
We offer over 80 undergraduate and graduate programmes, available in full- and part-time study modes, which are flexible, modular and inter-disciplinary, catering to both fresh school leavers and adult learners. SUSS also offers a broad range of continuing education and training modular courses for the professional skills upgrading of Singapore’s workforce.
Our programmes and courses are made available through our five schools:
- S R Nathan School of Human Development
- School of Business
- School of Humanities and Behavioural Sciences
- School of Law
- School of Science and Technology
To date, over 38,000 graduates have experienced our unique brand of education, and each year, about 15,000 students are pursuing their full- and part-time studies with us.
The Institute for Adult Learning (IAL)
, as part of SUSS, leads in the field of research on adult learning to build capabilities of the training and adult education sector in Singapore and beyond.
For more information on SUSS, please visit www.suss.edu.sg
Abour the S R Nathan School of Human Development
The S R Nathan School of Human Development (NSHD) is a multidisciplinary school dedicated to the applied study of inherent human potential across a broad spectrum of social disciplines. The School’s teaching and research encompass the range of factors influencing the abilities of the individual, the family and the community. With programmes from Early Childhood Education to Gerontology, our interests cover humanity’s socio-cultural growth throughout a lifespan.
Our work has the advancement of service at its heart, and this is especially manifested in such disciplines as Social Work and Counselling. Other programmes, such as Education, Human Resource Management, and Community Leadership recognise the dynamic relationship between the individual and the community as one that is transformative, and always with the extension of well-being as an imperative.
The School’s vision of "Transforming Lives, Serving Society" is a tribute to the legacy of late-President S.R. Nathan. His contribution to Singapore's Social Service sector, the Labour movement, as well as other nurturing professions, continues to inspire our dedication.