What is the most common presenting issue for counselling cases at EMCC? What percentage of EMCC clients qualify for subsidised fees? Executive Director Jeannie Chiu provides some answers and insights into EMCC.
1. What is the most common presenting issue in counselling at EMCC?
JC: Couple/ marital issues accounted for over 44% of counselling cases at EMCC in 2020, making it the most common presenting issue category.
Next comes mental health and addiction issues at 19%. By mental health, we are referring to issues such as anxiety, depression, difficulty in eating and/or sleeping.
This is followed by personal development which accounted for 12%. Personal development covers issues such as anger/stress management, self-esteem, self-identity, and sexual issues.
2. If couple and marital issues form such a large part of the cases, what support does EMCC provide to couples?
JC: Marriage is indeed a big commitment and EMCC runs workshops and programmes for couples, taking them from pre-marital life, through their early marriage years to the empty nest years and beyond.
Our marital enrichment courses include the Seven Principles Programme or the “Bringing Baby Home” which helps expectant parents to stay strong in their marriages while taking on the new role of parenthood.
We also conduct a Marriage Preparation Programme (MPP) to help prepare couples for a healthy, enriching marriage and harmonious family life.
The MPP is designed to lay a strong foundation for marriage and offers couples the opportunity to discuss important topics like parenting, finances and life goals. It equips them with skills in managing differences, making room for open communication and facilitating support for each other.
In 2020, almost 60 couples attended group and individual MPP sessions with EMCC.
Our MPP is supported by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) and allows couples who sign up to enjoy a rebate. For more information, please visit our website.
3. How do you raise awareness of mental health issues among youths and young adults?
JC: There was a great deal of anxiety when the pandemic hit Singapore last year. We worked with the MWKL Student Wellness Centre of the Singapore Management University (SMU) to support their students.
In 2020, our counsellors presented four free talks for SMU students on topics ranging from leveraging stress in a job search to handling relationship breakups. This year, during SMU’s Mental Health Awareness Week which ran from 19-22 October, we conducted a workshop on Building Relational Connection through a better understanding of the Languages of Love and Coping Postures.
Over two days in March this year, we also went to Fairfield Methodist School (Secondary) to conduct workshops for all their Secondary Two classes, on mental health awareness and management. The workshops were part of their Flex Week and covered content such as anxiety, depression, self-harm and self-care.
We would be happy to work with other institutions to promote mental health awareness among young adults.
4. What percentage of EMCC clients qualify for subsidised rates for your services?
JC: The majority does. EMCC is an NCSS social service agency and a charity. We seek to serve those in need. In 2020, over 85% of counselling clients qualified for subsidised rates.
EMCC counsellors conducted a total of 1,486 sessions in 2020. Of these, 1,277 sessions (that is, 4 out of every 5 sessions) were subsidised.
At EMCC, we believe everyone who needs helps should have access to that help and we do everything we can to make it possible. That includes applying for government grants and raising funds from private donors.
5. Is there any group of individuals you serve that we would be surprised to learn about?
JC: Perhaps individuals who work in the social service and healthcare professions?
Often, we don’t realise that people who help others sometimes themselves also need support. Working in the social service sector can take a mental and emotional toll.
As they go about their work to support others, social workers, counsellors, and other allied workers in these sectors face a great deal of stress even as they take on the uncertainties and anxieties of their clients. The stress can sometimes lead to burnout or compassion fatigue.
Since 2019, EMCC has been providing self-care sessions at special rates for professionals in this sector.
In 2020, EMCC added special rates for the healthcare workers at the frontline of the battle against the pandemic.
Clients from these two programmes accounted for 5% of our cases in 2020.
One more question please, how has the pandemic affected EMCC overall?
JC: Last year, the pandemic and especially the Circuit Breaker (CB) hit us very hard. Many counselling sessions and training programmes were cancelled.
But then the world adapted and so did we, together with our clients. Despite the restrictions, we have been able to journey with more clients.
We took on more new cases through both face-to-face and online sessions. We also organised several online training workshops including a hybrid Gottman training programme.
From online counselling sessions to hybrid training, digital fundraising to e-newsletters, EMCC has bounced back stronger, thanks to our clients, funders, donors, Board and staff.
After operating out of temporary premises for the last year and a half, we are also delighted to have found a new home at the National Library Building.
If you’re in a position to do so, please consider making a donation to support our work.
Every dollar you donate to EMCC from now till 31 March 2022 will go towards our GIVE HOPE campaign and will be matched by the Singapore government, under the Enhanced Fundraising programme.
Thank you very much for your support.