It has been almost a year since 10 individuals and organisations who made major contributions to the growth of civil society in Singapore in the last three years were honoured at the inaugural Singapore Advocacy Awards 2014, SAA. As we draw close to this year’s award ceremony on 31 July 2015, we caught up with some of last year’s recipients to find out how being recognised by the SAA has made an impact on their advocacy and what more they would like to see to enhance advocacy efforts.
In the second of the series, we feature Chan Li Shan, an advocate for mental health who won the Most Promising Advocate of the Year award last year.
How has winning the award made a difference to your advocacy work?
The impact of SAA recognition on my cause to raise awareness for mental health has been significant. The award, as well as the news reports and subsequent blog postings, served to highlight the issue of mental health in the civil society and activist spheres, which I believe had no visibility or presence in previous years. In addition, persons with mental health issues experience high unemployment and difficulty in sustaining work, and I was no exception. I am delighted to share that I have recently made it past the 1 year mark at my job as an administrator in mental health services planning and development. SAA recognition has deeply encouraged me and spurred me on in my work to raise more awareness of mental health issues.
Since then, I have been continuing my journey in mental health advocacy. I have had the privilege of speaking with medical professionals as well as university students on mental health matters. I now give less talks, but I have begun to organise talks for others like myself, to speak up and out, and to share their stories of resilience and recovery. I’ve been involved in groups of persons with lived experience which have come together to make a positive difference for others who may be struggling with or experiencing mental health difficulties. I have larger hopes for increasing awareness and understanding of mental health issues in Singapore, and in my work, I continue to plan for and to explore ways to make this a reality.
Thank you Li Shan!
You can read more about Li Shan at her website, lishanchan.wordpress.com.