In our daily lives, we may feel sad, worried, or stressed sometimes. It is normal to experience all kinds of emotions, as mental well-being is about accepting and embracing our positive and negative emotions.

 

Related: What is mental well-being?

 

When things start to feel overwhelming, it is okay to reach out for support. Priyahnisha Noorulla, a psychotherapist with 7 years’ experience, set up a non-profit organisation, Mental ACT, with her husband in 2019 to provide better mental health care and support for the South Asian community in Singapore.

 

Creating a safe and supportive space

“During my past volunteering experiences, and as a Singaporean with South Asian roots who grappled with mental health issues myself, I noticed that there wasn’t much community support for South Asians facing mental health issues,” Priyahnisha explained.

 

When she was clinically diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, chronic depression and anxiety disorder, Priyahnisha found it tough to find resources and treatment options. This made her feel helpless and lonely, and got her thinking about how others like herself would feel.

 

“With Mental ACT, our goal is to create a safe and supportive environment where South Asians facing mental health issues could feel heard and validated,” she elaborated.

 

As an example, Priyahnisha shared how Mental ACT helped a 21-year-old man with suicidal thoughts who reached out to them through their Instagram page. After building rapport online, Priyahnisha got his consent to meet in person and managed to convince him to confide in his parents and seek professional help. In the same week, Mental ACT reconnected him with his ex-counsellor and got him an appointment at IMH for further psychiatric treatment.

 

Why mental health matters

Just like how our physical health helps us to feel our best physically, our mental health affects how we handle stress and tackle the different demands in our lives.

 

“Our mental health is the cornerstone of our overall well-being, influencing how we think, feel, and act in our daily lives,” Priyahnisha pointed out. “It shapes our relationships, productivity, and resilience in facing challenges. By paying attention to our mental health, we can be more self-aware and experience a more fulfilling life.”

 

Tips to improve mental health and well-being

Interested to learn ways to strengthen your mental well-being? Priyahnisha has these handy tips to share:

 

  1. Develop self-care routines: Practise daily activities that nurture your mind and body, such as meditation, exercising, or journalling your emotions.

 

  1. Practise mindfulness: Take care of your mental well-being by slowing down and being present in the moment, which allows you to be in tune with your emotions and not react impulsively.

 

  1. Set healthy and clear boundaries: Be calm and firm when saying “no” to tasks and commitments that are too much to handle.

 

  1. Cultivate supportive relationships: Build a network of friends, family and/or support group to openly share your thoughts and feelings without facing judgement.

 

  1. Get sufficient rest: Make sure to have enough sleep on a regular schedule to lower stress and give you the energy you need to tackle the days ahead.

 

Related: Take the Sleep Tracking Challenge and improve your mental well-being.

 

  1. Be mindful of what you see in the media: Viewing negative media content can contribute to feelings of anxiety or fear. Instead, tuning into uplifting and inspiring stories to boost your mood and help you think more positively.

 

  1. Be kind to yourself: Just as you would show support and understanding to a close friend struggling with mental health issues, treat yourself with the same compassion.

 

Priyahnisha reminds us that we are not alone in our journey to better mental health. “When things get too overwhelming, don’t be afraid to reach out for professional help. Talking to a therapist or counsellor can give you helpful advice and strategies to deal with what you’re going through,” she advised.

 

Related: Try the OKAY tips to take care of your mental well-being.

 

Remember, getting mental health support is a sign of strength, not weakness. For more self-care resources for your mental health, visit our website as well as MindSG, Singapore’s one-stop portal for national mental health and well-being.