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Welcome to Club HEAL

Club HEAL (Hope, Empowerment, Acceptance & Love) aims to assist and empower persons with mental illness to regain confidence in themselves and others in their journey towards community reintegration.

Approved as an Institution of Public Character from 5 August 2016 to 31 October 2017.
UEN No: T12SS0028K. To donate, please contact us at admin@clubheal.org.sg / 6899 3463. You will receive a tax donation of 2.5 times the value of your donation to Club HEAL. 

Club HEAL is a member of the National Council of Social Service (NCSS) and a part of the Community Mental Health Intervention Teams (COMIT) programme under the Ministry of Health (MOH).

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With Peers Will Travel

It was a trip with a Difference. 10 out of 11 Club HEALers who made through a five-day kampung retreat to Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia, are challenged with mental illness. They have conditions as varied as schizophrenia, major depressive disorder, anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, dissociative identity disorder and schizoaffective disorder. The journey was a triumph of the peer spirit to engage whole-heartedly in life, pursuing our goals and dreams.

The getaway on 23 -27 Feb 2017 was led by Club HEAL’s programme coordinator Mdm Junainah Eusope, 65, who hosted them in her family home at Kampung Chembong Halt, Rembau, Negeri Sembilan. Warmly called Kak Junn, she is a pillar of Club HEAL. She partnered with Club HEAL’s executive committee member Mr Rahman who also works in the mental health sector. He is the only undiagnosed person in this trip and loved to crack jokes, being the live wire of the troop. He was higher than the happy bipolars. Laughter they say is the best medicine and it was contagious as the trip was full of merry campers who confronted their fears of relapsing in another country away from their family.

Cracks
This was a real issue and Kak Junn accepted the challenge with a positive spirit. Indeed the stress and adventure got the better of some people. For some, their fears were realized as they experienced symptoms such as anxiety disorder by a peer/staff as she broke down in tears at the dinner table, even as she tried to console another peer whose eyes rolled up and she froze while everyone else were tucking into a delicious meal.
The staff who was worried about the trip said, “I confronted my worst fear of breaking down in front of everyone and found that it was not so scary or so bad as I imagined it to be.”

Our beloved peer also felt the same way too but in fact she was touched by the many people who came to comfort her and after a good night’s sleep, she was back to her usual happy self.As for me, for the first two days, my body was bent on playing catch up with my sleep deficit from three weeks of high mood and I was embarrassed that I was sleeping during the day too whenever I could . But as soon as my body was recharged, I went to the automatic mode, being interested in my new surroundings and interesting experiences and people. It was my recipe for a good high that respected moderation.

As for me, for the first two days, my body was bent on playing catch up with my sleep deficit from three weeks of high mood and I was embarrassed that I was sleeping during the day too whenever I could . But as soon as my body was recharged, I went to the automatic mode, being interested in my new surroundings and interesting experiences and people. It was my recipe for a good high that respected moderation.

Memories are made of these
The trip was memorable to me for many reasons. I haven’t gone back packing for a while and I didn’t expect a lot of travelling on buses and on foot carrying my heavy backpack and a tote bag and a pouch. But for the worse part that I cannot bear the load, a colleague Fairuz who is as fit as a fiddle carried my burden for me, cheerfully. On our long morning walk to pasar tani (farmers’ market), we talked about life, love and nature passing by wildflowers and padi fields and mangosteen and moringa trees. Fairuz went barefooted whenever he could and partook wholly in the village life. We were lagging behind the rest but he assured me to take our time to savour our walk and our company. I kept a lookout for big cakes of bullshit along the way!

The long morning walk is meant to build up the resilience of our peers and while Kak Junn knows a few may find it challenging they tried and triumphed. “It showed that if you want to do something you can do your all to make it happen and the spirit of endurance is what we want to inculcate. Walking with friends at your own pace is how we will arrive at our destinations,” said Kak Junn.

The family spirit was palpable even as we took care of one another while travelling to bus stations, waiting for buses, and that we know where everybody were. When I headed to the toilet of shops alone, someone would come running behind me to accompany me.
We cooked feasts at the beautiful kampung house where we stayed and Kak Junn ran the kitchen with her key assistants like Fizah, our programme executive who planned the trip. Everyone had a part to play in preparing our chicken rendang and lemang which is easy to do for the veteran cook but was something new to us. The men had earlier gone to find fire wood, carrying a whole log too and cutting the bamboo for the lemang which is a glutinous rice cake cooked in bamboo for many hours.

Water fun
The highlight of the retreat for me was the trip to a waterfall at Hutan Lipur Ulu Bendul where some of us soaked in the super cold water and get bitten by unseen little fishes who fed on dead skin. It was not easy to walk in the water full of slippery rocks and stones. There is something rejuvenating about water and trees.

The last night was memorable for us sitting in the dark at the garden, when we shared our experiences and thoughts and musings. Many were inspired by their own ability to rough it out in a homestay setting and some are already planning a hike to Gunung Datuk in Negeri Sembilan. Almost all said they would like to return to the village again and make it a twice-yearly or yearly trip to destress, recharge and live close to nature.This was followed by a barbecue where we invited some of the village youths who are friends to our co-hosts, Kak Junn’s niece Ina and nephews Azmi and Barry. Barry and I had interesting conversations ranging from Hang Tuah to angels and different realms and he explored the fact that some of these hallucinations and voices that his friends experience could be just accepted as special gifts that selected people have, to see reality in all its full glory and mystery. This we term as mental illness.

This was followed by a barbecue where we invited some of the village youths who are friends to our co-hosts, Kak Junn’s niece Ina and nephews Azmi and Barry. Barry and I had interesting conversations ranging from Hang Tuah to angels and different realms and he explored the fact that some of these hallucinations and voices that his friends experience could be just accepted as special gifts that selected people have, to see reality in all its full glory and mystery. This we term as mental illness.

Yes, it was a trip with a Difference.

Kak Junn or Junainah Eusope on: Why Kampung Therapy?
“After four years suffering from major depressive disorder, my husband took me back to my kampung in Negeri Sembilan for a month’s break. When I stepped into the kampung I felt a load lifted off my mind. I felt light seeing the padi fields, the trees and the animals. Just listening to the birds chirping I would think of happy memories back in school. I had taken sleeping pills to sleep for four years but by the last week in the kampong, I managed to fall sleep easily without taking the pills. I did the chores like raking the leaves and burning then, and I walked to a nearby stream to muse and recuperate and the whole kampong experience was therapeutic. I want to share this unique recovery experience with our peers.”

What did the kampung folks think of us?
“I had prepared the kampung youths about our mental conditions. But when they saw and mingled among us they couldn’t see how we are any different. I told one of them, Atan, about our struggles with mental illness and he cried. He and his friends want to help more and work with us on the next trip. They do know of people in their community who are labelled gila and are locked in their homes. They were shocked to know that recovery was possible for people with mental illness. One of the youths said she suffers from depression after suffering from breast cancer and losing her breasts. There is a lot that they wanted to know about how to deal with mental health issues in the community.”

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Joint Book Launch to commemorate World Mental Health Day 2016

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Club HEAL successfully launched “Mind at Peace” and “Jiwa yang Tenang”, together with Suf Supiani’s “Panic Disorder – the Choice and Willpower to Survive” at AMP Auditorium, in celebration of World Mental Health Day. Graced by Club HEAL patron and Speaker of Parliament and MP for Marsiling-Yew Tee, Mdm Dr Halimah Yacob and with the support of our Community Partners, the event was meaningful and memorable.

Showcasing the talents of the staff and volunteers some who acted in an original play directed by Hayyu a former intern with Club HEAL, the drama was poignant and impactful. Based on a true life story, it speaks of a woman with schizophrenia who was happy and well for many decades until she lost her husband to stroke and had to be sent to a nursing home and thus they were separated. She had a relapse and was taken care by her younger sister.

At the launch there was also a recital of the poem Peace by Club HEAL writer Yohanna Abdullah. This is an opening poem in the book Mind at Peace. Suf Supiani also shared his painful and incredible journey battling Panic Disorder and sang his own composition Anxiety from his album Solitude launched in 2014. The interesting event ended after a lively Q and A session with the audience and the authors of the books.

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Club HEAL’s Third Centre Officially Opened at Pasir Ris East

On a cool and breezy morning, on the 23rd July 2016, Club HEAL celebrated the official opening of its third centre at Pasir Ris East. Situated in the bomb shelter of Block 148 Pasir Ris St 13, the centre is surprisingly pleasant, airy and spacious.

PRE-opening

 

 

 

The centre was opened by Member of Parliament for Pasir Ris-Ponggol GRC, Mr Zainal Sapari who kindly assisted in the attainment of the Pasir Ris East centre.

Mr Zainal said that such facilities to promote mental health and well-being is important for all levels of society and those with mental health challenges need organisations like Club HEAL in their journey to recovery. Club HEAL has been operating from the East since 2012 but it now finally has its own centre after operating from smaller borrowed premises. It has two other centres in the west at Bukit Batok East and in the north at Marsiling. Since Pasir Ris East’s unofficial opening in June this year, it has received 150 referrals.

The official opening of the centre was followed by a Hari Raya Celebration with about 100 peers, caregivers and volunteers. Some peers and staff performed a Malay dance taught by an intern while five volunteers spoke about their Club HEAL journey. Shari, a volunteer said “I basically share with the peers, the power of the mind. I encourage them to be kind and peaceful and have a sense of humour.”

The food was nothing less than delicious with lontong and chicken rendang being the main dishes for the day with traditional Malay kueh for dessert. Besides food which is the natural highlight, the guests sang a couple of popular Hari Raya songs which whetted their appetite.

To read more about the event, refer to the media links below:
berita.mediacorp.sg/…/club-heal-kini-pu…/2981766.html
www.beritaharian.sg/setempat/kelab-heal-ketiga-dibuka-rasmi-di-pasir-ris

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Official Opening of Club HEAL @ Marsiling
Club HEAL has officially launched a new centre in Marsiling on 23 April 2016 to cater to residents in the north of Singapore.  A voluntary welfare organisation that helps people with mental illness and their families heal and integrate back into society, Club HEAL’s headquarters in Bukit Batok East cater to the denizens of western Singapore. It also has a branch in Tampines catering to the east. Club HEAL has made a significant impact in the mental health care scene since it was established in 2012.

The three centres provide psychiatric day rehabilitative services for people recovering from mental health issues through activities such as expressive therapy, cooking and pottery making. It also conducts home visit assessments, counselling, case management, training for volunteers and caregiver support groups.

The centre at Marsiling started operations on April 4 at the void deck of 317 Woodlands Street 31. A Community Intervention Team (CIT) under the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) is housed at the centre to care for people with mental health needs along with their caregivers, so that they can continue living in their own homes and avoid institutionalisation.

Club HEAL@Marsiling will be working closely with its community partners, which include Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, Yishun Polyclinic, Thye Hua Kwan CREST, Clarity Singapore, Community Rehabilitation and Support Services by the Singapore Anglican Community Services, Social Service Agencies, Family Service Centres, Senior Activity Centres, grassroots leaders and volunteers.

Said Dr Tan Weng Mooi, Chief, Community and Mental Health Division of AIC, “These partners can refer new and known cases to Club HEAL, and Club HEAL will, in turn, link their clients who require other health and social services with these partners. By 2017, we will have a total of 12 CITs to ensure that the clients and caregivers are well-cared for and supported within the community.”

Member of Parliament for Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC Halimah Yacob – also Speaker of Parliament – said the constituency will benefit from the centre as it has a high number of elderly and low-income residents.

She noted that the Government has made some headway in improving support for those suffering from mental illnesses by putting in place the National Mental Health Blueprint in 2006 and the Mental Health Action Plan in 2013. However, studies have found that empathy and understanding for the mentally challenged remains low.

Mdm Halimah emphasised, “What the Government cannot do is legislate against stigma … only we – as a community and as individuals – can do that. We can be the voice to support those with mental illness and help them to integrate back into society.”

Dr Radiah Salim, founder and president of Club HEAL, thanked donors, volunteers and staff for their support and welcomed Marsiling residents to join the centre as volunteers or clients.

“At our centres, we conduct a rehab programme that helps impart the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed for the recovery process. We not only have staff and clients, but also volunteers (also known as HEALing friends) who give of their time and skills to make our programmes interesting and varied. I would like to welcome Marsiling residents join us as clients or volunteers and have FUN at our kampong!”

The programme was masterfully emceed by a very able peer, Salamah Binte Mohamed Gazali Khan. Two peers and a caregiver then shared their respective experiences. Finally, everyone – guests and hosts alike – sang along to the lyrics of Sami Yusuf’s beautiful song, Healing, which drives home the role of compassion and faith in the healing process.

About 80 people attended the event, which was widely covered in the media in all four official languages. It was indeed a blessed occasion, and, hopefully, a step forward in our respective healing journeys as individuals and as a community and as a nation.

Marsiling Opening

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 Successful Launch of Shattered, We HEAL II and Berkecai, Kami Pulih II

Some 120 people gathered in the Woodlands Regional Library Auditorium on World Mental Health Day (10 Oct 2015) to celebrate the launch of Club HEAL’s second book Shattered, We HEAL II and Berkecai, Kami Pulih II written by Yohanna Abdullah and Dr Radiah Salim.

Graced by our guest of honour, patron of Club HEAL and Speaker of Parliament Mdm Halimah Yacob, the programme touched the heartstrings of the audience who witnessed an impassioned speech by Mdm Halimah appealing for greater understanding and acceptance of those blessed with mental illness and their caregivers.

The audience who included prominent faces in the mental health community such as CEO of the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) Adj A/Prof Chua Hong Choon, the Club HEAL community and members of the public had an entertaining yet enlightening programme. Our peers, Ajid, Amalina and Mano Esperanza came out in full force to read their poems and sing their songs. Renowned actress Seri Wahyuni Jaes performed a monologue on the story of a young woman with schizophrenia since the age of 14.

There was an interesting and light-hearted Question and Answer session with the authors of the book shedding tears and laughter. The event was well-covered on Berita Harian and MediaCorp Suria. The books are available for purchase at $10/copy. To get a copy of the book, please contact 6899 3463 / info@clubheal.org.sg.

To view more pictures of the event, visit Club HEAL’s Facebook page here.

(Photo credit: Amalus Barakna)

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Forum discussion: Body Mind & Soul

The Club HEAL short films made by acclaimed filmmaker Sanif Olek are aimed at generating awareness and reflection of mental health issues from among viewers. To this end, Club HEAL has collaborated with Islamic Events TV to produce a series of four panel discussions of the film. This was televised live on IslamicEvents.TV between 30 April and 22 May 2015.

The first, based on the film “Putri” touched on “Hope” – What is mental illness? Why does stigma exist? What are the myths surrounding mental illness? Is there hope that a person with mental illness will recover?

The second, based on the film “Zul” focused on the importance of “Empowerment”. – How does mental illness result in disability? What can be done to minimise disability and maximize one’s potential? What support do employers who want to employ people with mental illness need? Why should we encourage employers to employ people with mental illness? What alternatives are there for those who are not prepared to work in the labour market? What are peer support specialists and how can they contribute to the community?

The third, based on the film “Ali” brought out the role of “Acceptance”- How does one react when a family member falls ill? How does a lack of acceptance on the part of the person with mental illness impact on family members? How do we facilitate acceptance on part of family members and people with mental illness?

The fourth, based on the film “Amirah” shows how “Love” heals – What happens to a family when they see changes in their loved one that signal mental health issues? Why do many still tend to seek the help of faith healers rather than mental health professionals? What support and understanding does a person with mental illness need from their family members? What support does caregiver need from the patient that will help them both? What support do caregivers need from the community? How do we get the community to understand and empathize with persons with mental illness and caregivers?

We would like to thank those who viewed the films live and donated to us – thank you so much! For those who missed the four live shows, they can watch the discussions here.

For those who wish to donate, we accept donations via:

  1. Cheques: Cheques should be crossed and made payable to Club HEAL.
  2. Interbank transfer: Transfer to OCBC Current Account 641372131001. Do notify us of your transfer by email to info@clubheal.org.sg date of transfer, amount of transfer, name of donor, NRIC and mailing address.
  3. GIRO: Application form for interbank GIRO
  4. Online Donations: www.sggives.org/clubheal

Club HEAL postal address: 244, Bukit Batok East Ave 5, #01-02 Singapore 650244

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BOOK LAUNCH – Berkecai Kami Pulih

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14 February 2015 was the successful launching of the book Shattered, We HEAL in Malay – Berkecai, Kami Pulih. About 80 people attended the function which came after Caregivers’ Training at AICare Hub, City Square.

This event which was covered in the Malay media was well-supported by caregivers, PMHI and well-wishers including our translation team from Bizmedia Publishing. This team is made of former senior staff such as the former Chief Editor of Berita Harian/ Berita Minggu Mr Guntor Sadali. Mr Guntor who shared the journey of translating the book admitted that it was no easy task especially in capturing emotions so it was a task shared with other staff such as Ismail Pantek and Sharifah Md Kassim.

Mdm Halimah Yacob, Speaker of Parliament and Member of Parliament for Jurong GRC, who is our beloved Patron, made her way to launch the book for the second time, this time in Malay. She applauded the move to reach out to a Malay-speaking audience and share valuable information regarding mental health issues.

Teater Kami also performed a part of a Monologue (Naked – 25 -27 Mar 2015 One-Two-Six Cairnhill Arts Centre.) written by Yohanna Abdullah, played by a Dalifah and directed by Atin Amat with lighting sound by Nabilah Moen.

Ms Lo Mun Fun, Assistant Director, AIC, 53, enjoyed the whole show in spite it being in mostly Malay. “I listened to the translation of a speech, I was truly inspired and captivated. I figured that you must first of all want to heal in order to heal,” said Ms Lo.

Do buy our books which are now selling fast at $10 each, either in English or Malay. Contact admin@clubheal.org.sg for your copy.

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“Shattered, We HEAL – This touching and awakening book about mental illness was launched at the Jurong Regional Library on 11 October 2014 with Mdm Halimah Yacob as Guest of Honour. The book is published by Club HEAL and written by Yohanna Abdullah and Dr Radiah Salim.

It contains 15 stories of those were shattered by the challenge of mental illness, either as patients or as caregivers. After being shattered, they heal and then yet again they move to another episode… such is life’s challenges.

The book is available at Club HEAL’s headquarters at Blk 244 Bukit Batok East Ave 5 #01-02, and at our pushcart at IMH and selected bookstores. The price is $10 per book and you can have the book posted to you with additional $2 postage cost.

Please contact 68993463 during office hours or email info@clubheal.org.sg

Championing our battles with a book.

Championing our battles with a book.

 

Ending with a poem by Yohanna Abdullah

Ending with a poem by Yohanna Abdullah

 

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Club HEAL had its premiere film screening ‘Are You Mental? The De-Stigmatisation of Mental Illness’ on 30 January 2013 at Singapore Management University (SMU) We would like to thank our patron, Madam Halimah Yacob, the various representatives from Singapore Anglican Community Services, Singapore Association for Mental Health, Agency for Integrated Care and the Institute of Mental Health for sharing their insights during the panel discussion, representatives from all other organisations for their tremendous support, SMU for being a brilliant co-organizer, participants, talented film cast and crew, dedicated staff and volunteers as well as all guests who attended. Thanks to you, the premiere was a success!

Madam Halimah addressing the audience before the film screening at SMU

Madam Halimah addressing the audience before the film screening at SMU

*Watch the films at http://www.clubheal.org.sg/media/videos/

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Rant of the Mentally Blessed Explore the HEAL Corner for creative writings and works on mental health!

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We need VOLUNTEERS aka “HEALing Friends” – training will be provided. Apply to healingfriends@clubheal.org.sg or call 68993463 (Office Hours)

We also welcome interns from among students of higher learning in relevant fields such as counselling, psychology, social work and education. Apply in writing to info@clubheal.org.sg

Quote of the Month

“Among those of you who are dearest to me, are those who have the best character.” – hadith from al-Bukhari

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