Using an IG account to promote mental wellness

13 Jul 2022

Lianhe Zaobao, 13 Jul 2022, 设IG账号宣导心理健康 (translation)
Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) student, Kellie Sim, is not only active in volunteerism and promoting of mental health, but is also serving as the vice president of the University's student union and president of the Rotary Club.
Accustomed to suppressing negative emotions while growing up and pursuing a “fighting culture”, an engineering student decided to develop a software and social media account to promote mental health and aid those in need. She is proficient in computer engineering and design, and aspires to become an interdisciplinary psychiatrist.
Kellie Sim (21 years old) from SUTD, is petite, smiling and friendly like the girl next door. Besides being active in volunteerism and promoting mental health, she is also the vice president of the University’s student union and president of the school’s Rotary Club.
Before entering university in 2020, at the age of 19, she had created an Instagram account to highlight social issues such as mental health, sexual harassment, domestic violence and toxic relationships.
“These are topics that my friends and I are concerned about, but for some people, they are still taboo topics. Therefore, I hope to use social media platforms to drive friends and followers to think, discuss and even take action.”
Kellie Sim’s attention to mental health originated from the study environment. Since secondary school, her learning environment has been dominated by male students, and she has also observed that they are more prone to repression.
She said, “I had learnt in class the saying 'a man sheds blood, not tears', which seemed to suggest that if a boy cried or was sad, he would be deemed weak and unmanly. But I don't think this is reasonable; does this mean that women who cry are more vulnerable?”
This notion also causes many students to shy away from seeking help from counsellors or teachers. A friend of hers had suicidal thoughts because of over-repressed emotions, which led her to realise the urgency and necessity of promoting mental health awareness.
She also found that while people around them may not have the necessary expertise and training, many prefer to confide in a friend, so she decided to help as a peer.
“Although my ability is small, it is not useless, so I hope to create more public discourse through different platforms, and gradually change misconceptions.”
Beyond the campus, she has also founded the knowledge sharing platform SAGE to provide mutual assistance channels to youths who are facing new stages in their lives, such as pre-university youths, university graduates, and those who recently joined the workforce.
In the future, Kellie Sim plans to continue her studies at Duke-NUS Medical School to become a psychiatrist.