Silver Ribbon (Singapore) is a Social Service Agency that works to promote positive attitudes towards mental health. It provides services like complimentary emotional support, outreach, awareness talks and workshops, crisis resolution team and psychiatric ambulatory support. We speak to three of its Social Service Professionals – Christabelle (Clinical Executive), Yan Deng (Senior Clinical Executive) and Mirldawati (Operations Executive) – on their experiences as a lean, trans-disciplinary team achieving goals together.
Hi, team! Can you tell us about each of your roles?
Christabelle: I am a Clinical Executive and the Secretariat of the Youth Chapter. As a Clinical Executive, I provide emotional support to our clients and also conduct talks and workshops to raise awareness on mental health. As the Secretariat of the Youth Chapter, I lead a group of youth volunteers in coming up with their own projects for youth. We recently launched a social media campaign called ‘Truths Untold’, featuring real life stories and tackling myths about mental health.
Mirldawati: I manage the daily operations of our branch as an Operations Executive. This includes tasks like liaising with clients and partners, preparing monthly reports, maintaining the client database and organising community outreach programmes. When the crisis resolution team service is activated, I also support the Clinical Executive during house visits.
Yan Deng: Like Christabelle, I provide basic counselling and emotional support to our clients as a Senior Clinical Executive. I conduct talks and workshops for the community as well. In addition, I am a Global Alliance for Mental Health Advocates Secretariat – giving administrative support and collaborating with mental health advocates from around the world to share ideas and organise events together.
How do your different job roles come together as a team?
Christabelle: All our tasks enable the organisation to run smoothly and all our roles are needed for ensuring its success.
Mirldawati: Our Clinical and Operations executives work closely together to cover all bases.
Yan Deng: The agency is made up of a very lean team, so often times, for large scale events, we would need the cooperation of everyone in order to get everything done on time.
What is your approach to teamwork like?
Christabelle: We work the way a family does, helping each other out, scolding each other when necessary and being happy at each other’s triumphs.
Mirldawati: Teamwork and mutual understanding are important to us and we are not afraid to seek help or advice from each other. We make sure that no one gets left behind.
Yan Deng: We constantly communicate with each other so that everyone is on the same page, making it much easier to forge ahead together.
What are the benefits of being a trans-disciplinary team with varying backgrounds and roles?
Christabelle: Each person brings different perspectives and this allows us to be neutral and objective when required. Having a team with varying backgrounds also lets us understand things from a bigger picture and empathise better when planning events or hearing from our clients.
Mirldawati: You get to pick up interesting knowledge and skills from your team members! I got to learn facts and tips on mental health and self-care as well as how to facilitate an online event as a moderator – from our Clinical Executives who are more experienced in those areas.
Yan Deng: Having different strengths and experiences completes the team and gives a more holistic approach when we tackle mental health promotion and advocacy. In addition, my colleagues have enabled me to widen my horizons with regards to learning about distinct cultures, family dynamics and challenges people face.
How do you encourage each other, in order to progress as a team?
Christabelle: Our ability to share our personal lives with each other helps us feel united and if someone is down in spirits, the rest of the team fall in to cheer that person up. This atmosphere is conducive for progress as we know that we have people to count on.
Mirldawati: We check in on each other’s wellbeing regularly and offer assistance when it is needed. The first time I moderated an event, everyone on the team kept encouraging me and even came down after work to lend a hand.
Yan Deng: When setbacks are encountered, we focus on how issues can be addressed together and prevent them from happening again. When things go well, we recognise and acknowledge each other’s efforts.
What are some of your achievements as a team?
Christabelle: Our collective effort for the World Mental Health Day event is one example. We supported each other so quickly and easily, which is something that makes me proud to be a part of Silver Ribbon.
Mirldawati: We have successfully organised and hosted large scale events, whilst ensuring that office operations are not disrupted. Some of these events, like World Mental Health Day, involve so many guests that we make sure to aid each other beyond the tasks assigned to us.
Yan Deng: We worked tirelessly on the World Mental Health Day event, liaising with different partners, speakers and volunteers to make it a success. We have pulled off events that involve international guests and organisations too, proving that the lean size of our team is not a limiting factor. Our desire to promote the importance of mental health is what matters.
Last but not the least, what are some words of advice you have for someone considering a career in Social Service?
Christabelle: Think about what drives you and makes you feel happy and fulfilled.
Mirldawati: Working in Social Service will not only allow you to assist others in improving their quality of life, but also make life more meaningful for yourself. A life helping others is a life well-lived.
Yan Deng: Don’t worry about coming from different disciplines or backgrounds, because relevant skills or knowledge can be learned and developed over time. As long as you have the heart, you can find your purpose in Social Service.
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