After coming back from Operation Mingalaba in 1999, a group of volunteers (mainly from Phase 2) has embarked on a community project with the Institute of Mental Health from 2000.
They have been working with IMH staff (doctors, occupational therapists, social workers) to organize activities for IMH patients.
Their objectives are: to raise mental health awareness among volunteers and public, to de-stigmatize mental illnesses, as well as to create opportunities for psychiatric patients to be involved in social and recreational activities outside of hospital setting.
In 2000, a visit to the Zoological Gardens was organized for a group of 40 patients from the chronic wards. In 2001, another group of patients made a trip to Marina South to participate in telematch and kite-flying activities, which was followed by a steamboat dinner. The following year 2002, the patients had the privilege to take the MRT to Changi Airport under close guidance by the volunteers and IMH staff. This event was followed by a barbecue dinner at IMH premise.
In year 2003, they had the privilege to work with the Early Psychosis Intervention Program patients and went on a city treasure hunt together.
Last year, two outing were organised, one outing to Marina South for kite-flying and games, followed by a steamboat dinner. The second outing brought a group of patients to see the Christmas lighting along Orchard Road.
In recognition of the group effort, IMH awarded a Group Long Service award to Raleigh Society in October 2004.
Article written by Volunteer Soh Choi Ling
Picnic at the Botanic Gardens with IMH Friends
|Sunday, 21 August 2005|
|More than 40 patients and IMH staff joined us at the Singapore Botanic Gardens on 25 Jun 2005. A Maori music band was scheduled to perform that weekend and we thought the patients will enjoy such performance and a picnic. We arranged for our IMH friends to have a walk in the National Orchid Gardens for a start. Thanks to Nparks, we had managed to obtain a waiver of entry to the orchid garden for IMH. After the walk, we had picnic cum dinner in front of the band stage while we waited for the performance. Well, it was belated Fathers' Day celebration for our IMH friends that weekend, it's only befitting to wrap up the evening with a Fathers' Day cake and a small face towel for each friend.
Through the Operation Mingalaba trippers, more than a third of the volunteers are new to our IMH friends. Raising public awareness of the mentally-ill is one of our objectives for organising outings for our IMH friends.
Which was their deepest impression ? Watching the band performance ? Eating the Fathers' Day cake or the dinner we packed for them? According to Mdm Chua, Asst Director for Nursing, being surrounded by beautiful orchids and the 'unusual' sight of 'so many' Caucasian tourists were the real highlights of the outing. Their response is: When is the next outing ?
You see, even for our Mingalaba trippers who have been 'regular' in these outings, we are all still discovering new things about these special friends. But what we do know through these outings is : they are not scary, they are not threatening. They don't have the freedom like we have.