As the Singapore’s migrant workers dormitories gazetted as isolation areas following the massive COVID-19 outbreak in dormitories, the quarantined migrant workers have faced the mental health challenges amidst the fears of COVID-19.
According to an online survey conducted by Dutta, of more than 100 migrant workers, 68 per cent responded “somewhat agree”, “agree” or “strongly agree” when asked if they were depressed because of the coronavirus. While 70 per cent have responded the same way when asked if they were sad.
Concerning the mental health issue of migrant workers, the Singapore’s first silent tea bar, Hush TeaBar has issued a statement to announce that a cross-sector partnership is setting up between Hush, SDI Academy and The Art of Living Foundation (AOL), with the aims of providing mental health support to migrant workers amid COVID-19 outbreak.
“This cross-sector partnership between Hush TeaBar, SDI Academy, and The Art of Living reflects the growing movement on the ground to change social attitudes and support structures for migrant workers,” the Hush’s statement read.
Hush also said that a holistic programme involving self-care kits, online resources on mental and emotional management, as well as interaction in Singapore Sign Language with Deaf facilitators will be carried out with the grant support from Swiss Re Foundation and The Majurity Trust’s SG Strong Fund.
It noted that the strengths and initiatives of each organisation will be leveraged under this partnership.
According to Hush, it has customised self-care kits for the migrant workers which each includes a pack of organic tea from Sri Lanka, a breathing/reflection sheet, a Hush-inspired notebook, along with hygiene products such as a face mask and hand sanitiser.
Hush will be distributing the self-care kits on Sunday (19 July) at 10.30am in Tuas dormitory.
Apart form this, Hush will also put in place the effort to further build psychological resilience and provide mental health support amongst the migrant workers through the collaboration with AOL.
The Lead volunteer of Community Service Projects Nishi Kuttanna said the free 1.5-hour online wellness and relaxation session organised by the AOL volunteers for the first time on 11 April are still on-going with 6 times a week in four languages – Tamil, Bangla, Hindi and Chinese.
“The sessions were so well received that new and exciting possibilities for collaboration between the broader Singaporean community and the migrant worker community started to emerge. The HushAOL effort is one of them,” Ms Kuttanna said.
Together with the volunteers from AOL, deaf facilitators from Hush will also teach migrant workers how to check in with their feelings and express them using Singapore Sign Language, according to Hush.
In order to upskilling the migrant workers, SDI Academy has also developed an app to continue provide the training to help migrant workers build up their skills, with English language, IT, and entrepreneurship courses.
CEO of SDI Academy Sazzad Hossain said, “SDI Academy app is an interactive learning platform that hopes to bridge the learning and communication gaps by providing content and avenue for locals and migrants to connect,” adding that the partnership with Hush will develop content to provide support in mental health.
The Founder of Hush and the former NMP Anthea Ong expressed that she is delighted to see the multi-party collaboration between the private and people sectors to support the mental wellbeing of migrant workers.
She remarked, “Because how we treat the vulnerable members of our society defines who we are as a people.
“We must come together as a community to support our migrant workers, and all essential workers, so that we can build back better and emerge stronger, for all.”