Our Story
Improving Mental Health, One Person At A Time
Lee Kang Qi
Published on 25/03/24

As a psychologist at the Singapore Association for Mental Health (SAMH), Kang Qi provides rehabilitative programmes to assist individuals in their recovery journey and reintegration into the community.

A Passion Sparked from Empathy

Kang Qi's interest in psychology ignited at 13 when her cousin faced depression. The family's response was less than ideal, with hushed talks about her cousin’s suicide attempts and a reluctance to delve into the issue. Despite this, Kang Qi saw mental health differently, advocating against stigma. This motivated her to study psychology, with the goal of assisting those with mental health issues, promoting awareness, and reducing societal stigma.

Inspired by the support of her loved ones, Kang Qi acknowledges the diverse challenges people face, especially for those from disadvantaged backgrounds or with unique needs. That further inspired her to embark on a career where she can support people in living life meaningfully and achieving their goals regardless of their circumstances.

Similar Aspirations, Different Settings

Kang Qi used to work in the forensic setting where she conducted assessments to inform interventions. She found this beneficial as it involved her from the assessment stage of the intervention process, providing her with a better understanding of her clients. She worked with individuals on their substance abuse, behavioural problems, and emotional concerns.

Throughout her time in forensics, she noticed that a lot of problems were perpetuated by underlying and/or comorbid mental health conditions, and that different ages and genders presented different needs and responsivity issues. This further fueled her passion to pursue a career in psychology.

Kang Qi believes that being a psychologist allows her to be involved in the assessment and diagnosis of mental health issues, allowing her to have a deeper understanding of her clients. She was also introduced to different psychological assessment tools and evidence-based therapies, which aided her in providing better support for her clients.

In SAMH, Kang Qi facilitates rehabilitative programmes for individuals recovering from mental health conditions, aiding their community reintegration. Her daily tasks include referral discussions, case consultations, and conducting psychological assessments or interventions, either one-on-one or in group sessions. Additionally, she dedicates time in preparing essential reports and case notes for effective record-keeping, crucial for tracking client progress and facilitating smooth handovers or referrals within multidisciplinary teams.

A Fulfilling Role as A Psychologist

For Kang Qi, her role as a psychologist at SAMH has opened her eyes and mind to the world, allowing her to grow as an individual. She finds her work humbling as her clients are willing to be vulnerable and welcome her to be a part of their recovery journey. She gains inspiration from her clients when they are motivated to push through their recovery journey, learn how to manage their conditions, and give themselves another chance despite having multiple relapses.

The resilience and resourcefulness of her colleagues and clients have always stood out to Kang Qi. Her motivation is fueled by the passion of the people in the social service agency and the broader vision of SAMH to contribute to mental wellness for everyone through outreach and creative initiatives beyond rehabilitation efforts. In her career, she finds meaning and purpose as she accompanies and support her clients in discovering strengths and cultivating self-compassion. Moreover, as a trainer for SAMH's community educational initiatives through talks and workshops, Kang Qi extends her commitment to supporting individuals on their journey, seamlessly aligning with her passion to raise awareness and reduce stigma.

Overcoming Inter and Intrapersonal Challenges

The challenges Kang Qi encounters in her work are often linked to navigating chronic and complex mental health issues that are often comorbid with physical illnesses, personality disorders, addictions, and varying levels of cognitive impairment. Given the differing complexities of their conditions, it can sometimes be difficult to engage clients effectively and value-add to their recovery.

To surmount these challenges, Kang Qi actively advocates for clinical supervision and engages in case discussions, firmly believing that such clinical dialogues are pivotal in safeguarding the best interests of her clients and enabling her to deliver quality therapy. Clinical supervision provides her with a safe space to identify areas of improvement and collaboratively devise strategies to overcome these challenges.

Kang Qi believes that it is important to possess good interpersonal and collaborative skills as her work often involves close collaboration with stakeholders. Being able to communicate effectively is important for a psychologist to advocate for the needs of clients, engage stakeholders, and encourage clients to engage in services.

Having empathy and the ability to consider different perspectives are also important as it helps in understanding and building rapport with individuals. Having to work in multidisciplinary teams in the social service sector also allows for others to be open and receptive to feedback, be reflective and approach every stressful situation as a learning experience.

The role of a psychologist is one of the many career options in Social Service. To find out more, check out our career guide on psychology.

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