Voicing out against stigma
Free concert to raise awareness and combat stigma against mental health issues.
Twenty-five agencies and community partners from the healthcare and social services sectors have joined hands to raise awareness and reduce stigma about mental health issues through a free outdoor concert called “Voice Out”. The concert will be held on October 7 at Botanic Gardens, Shaw Foundation Symphony Stage, from 4.30pm to 7pm and over 2,500 people are expected to attend. Admission is free.
Held in conjunction with the annual World Mental Health Day, the concert features a line-up of local artistes, many of whom are mental health advocates, as well as a special guest appearance by international Mandopop-star, Stefanie Sun.
Pre-concert fringe activities will include eight Human Library stations, manned by mental health advocates and peer support specialists who will share about their personal experiences with mental illness. Participants can also try their hand at therapeutic art activities and join in a mass mindfulness session.
To give a voice to persons with mental health issues, an original song entitled “Voice Out” was composed especially for the event. Co-written by general practitioner and mental health advocate, Dr Joel Foo, the song encourages individuals to ask after and show their concern for those with mental health conditions. The music video is performed by people from all walks of life, including a peer in recovery, a caregiver and nurse, symbolising members of the community coming together to show their acceptance and support for persons with mental health issues.
Assoc Prof Chua Hong Choon, CEO of the Institute of Mental Health (IMH), said, “Persons living with mental illness face challenges such as social isolation and discrimination as they are often stereotyped as being incompetent, unpredictable and even dangerous. When such discriminations are internalised, these persons start to develop self-stigma which hinders them from reaching out for help. We need to break this cycle by coming forward to talk about mental illness. That is what we hope to achieve through the Voice Out concert.
“Featuring mental health advocates, caregivers and volunteers, we want to send a strong message to be bold to speak up for yourself and others. Speaking about mental health promotes understanding. And when the community understands mental health issues better, it becomes the support network that will end isolation and promote social inclusion.”
The organisations who co-organised the event include the Agency for Integrated Care, IMH, National Council of Social Service, Health Promotion Board, Alzheimer’s Disease Association, Caregivers Alliance Ltd, Club HEAL, Filos Community Services, National Healthcare Group, O’Joy Care Services, Project We Forgot, Silver Ribbon (Singapore), Singapore Association for Mental Health, St Luke’s Hospital and TOUCH Community Services.