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Impact 0526: Mental wellness in students: closing the learning gap

Jia Xin · 11 April 2022
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Youth Action Challenge (YAC) is a platform for youth to provide solutions that tackle the issues we are concerned about. Since October 2021, over 80 teams and more than 310 youths have undertaken the YAC Season 3 journey.

Jia Xin, 21, is currently studying at NTU. She is working at YAC’s Team Deko, which aims to equip educators of Primary and Secondary school students with an Art-based e-curriculum to revolutionise mental health education in classrooms.

Their main focus is to address social media addiction and the negative influences of social media. Today she shares more about the project!

What was your role within your YAC project?

My role within Deko is the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). My main responsibilities include conducting market research, reaching out to potential partners and increasing brand awareness. This is mainly due to my prior experience in social media content creation and marketing, as well as previous job experience as a marketing intern at Bayer. In addition, I’ve also had extensive experience in developing activities for student engagement in Primary, Secondary, and tertiary institutions. 

What motivated you to join YAC?

I was introduced to YAC by a friend who recruited me to join Deko and embark on this meaningful journey with her. Our main motivation to join YAC was to learn from industry professionals from the 3P sectors (people, public and private) and get access to mentors and additional online learning modules. We wanted to further strengthen our project and equip ourselves with the necessary project development skills so that we could make Deko a success. We also wanted to connect with other like-minded individuals and learn from other entrepreneurs.

Can you share with us your experience with your YAC project?

My experience was a pleasant one. The various workshops were extremely informative and useful in helping us set a strong foundation and direction for Deko. I, personally, was able to learn a lot, especially from the one-to-one consult clinics with industry professionals. 

The mentors were extremely friendly and excited to share their own experiences, which helped to guide us along. The advice given was also very personalised. We really grew a lot as a team and individually through YAC.

What challenges did you face while working on your YAC project?

Some challenges include juggling between the YAC project and school. Although YAC workshops are typically on Saturdays, the mentoring sessions were dependent on the availability of the mentor. There were some issues with trying to match our schedules as I and the other team members are studying in different universities and we have different timetables. Hence, there were some sessions where we didn’t have full attendance. 

Time management is extremely important, especially since we had to juggle school work and deadlines for YAC submissions. However, the mentors have been extremely helpful and flexible to offer mentoring sessions at night, when most of us had more time.

Could you share more on how your project has a positive impact?

We equip educators of Primary and Secondary students with an ART-based e-curriculum to revolutionise mental health education in classrooms.

Despite the push from MOE to incorporate topics related to mental health in civic curricula, gaps remain in effectively engaging, educating, and empowering students on these topics.

Deko aims to close this learning gap by equipping educators with more tools for their classrooms, starting from our expertise: mental well-being. In sum, our solution focuses on helping educators: (1) make learning fun with art, (2) provide information in bite-sized pieces, and (3) facilitate application in students’ daily lives.

Deko not only empowers youth to improve their mental wellness, but we also lessen the burden on educators through creating the content and class structures for teachers. This allows teachers to easily utilise our lesson plans and materials for classes with minimum need for further modification.

Were there any key takeaways or learning points from your time with YAC?

YAC has equipped the team with skills and opportunities to innovate our solutions in partnership with the government. Our greatest takeaway was the support given, which included access to mentors, speakers, domain experts, and the overall network of social entrepreneurship. We’ve also learned how much impact we can make to solve issues that we truly care about, and we’ve been truly empowered and inspired by all the other participants too.

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