2021: A Look Back into Thrive Well
Within a blink of an eye, another year has passed! As we continue to overcome the challenges of the ongoing pandemic, 2021 has been a year of constant change and growth for Thrive Well. So, let’s take some time to reflect on and celebrate our accomplishments as we look forward to our adventures in the coming year!
The Transition into Thrive Well
Perhaps the biggest change and achievement of the year was our transformation into Thrive Well Social Enterprise (Thrive Well Sdn. Bhd.). Thanks to the efforts of our team and the support of our community, we were able to smoothly transition into Thrive Well all while continuing our efforts to expand trauma-informed community mental health services across to individuals, communities and organisations particularly the marginalised and high-needs communities in a sustainable manner.
Besides this major transition, we have also effectively relocated our center from 1Petaling at Sungai Besi to BU8 at Bandar Utama on November 1st of 2021. Our team has put the utmost effort into creating a welcoming and safe environment for us to continue our services in this new location, while also ensuring we continue to deliver our best service to our clients. Currently, we are still in the process of completing our new space but we look forward to resume face-to-face sessions soon, so make sure to keep an eye out for announcements on our social media channels!
Supporting Our Communities
In response to the rising need for mental health support during COVID-19, we launched “Jom Sembang” under the Hanasah Special Grant (HSG) by Yayasan Hasanah, in partnership with the Ministry of Finance. The programme aimed at delivering subsidised mental health services to the B40 community during COVID-19, and managed to serve a total of 102 clients with a total of 705 hours of therapy. Due to the success of the programme, we will be continuing our Jom Sembang programmes to provide more subsidised mental health services to the marginalised communities, with the support and collaboration of many other organisations.
During the pandemic, their mental health has been severely impacted by concerns about employment and job-loss, housing and most importantly, additional financial constraints. Therefore, our community development team, also known as KAMI (short for “Keluarga Akrab Mencapai Impian”) have made the utmost effort to support the mental health of these communities through community-based programmes. These initiatives aimed to strengthen the relationships between families through cultivating listening and communication skills in a safe environment, as well as providing healthy coping mechanisms as they faced the challenges of the ongoing pandemic.
Throughout the year, we have received tremendous support from funders and collaborators who made it possible to run our supportive services despite the challenges posed by the pandemic. Safe to say, 2021 has been a very eventful year for our Community Development team!
Supporting Workplace Mental Health
As the world shifted online and how the pandemic has also affected the economy, there are more employees struggling to endure working style changes, retrenchment, as well as pay cuts. Fortunately, employers started to become aware of how employees’ well-being is closely associated with employees’ work performance, and are taking action to maintain employee morale and well-being. During the past year, we were approached by approximately 40 companies, seeking out our EAP services, corporate talks and training for their employees’ well-being.
Throughout the year, we have conducted various talks and training centred around the theme of self-care, stress management, communications skills in the workplace, how to cope with working from home and how to cope with returning to office. Apart from corporate talks and training, the Corporate Relations (CR) team has been providing continuous support to our corporate clients via the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), which also includes companies that are going through separation schemes and downsizing.
As a trauma-informed care organisation, a part of CR’s objective is to focus on the employees in primary services, including teachers, frontliners, social workers etc. Thus, in our collaboration with NADI App and MERCY Malaysia, we continued to provide mental health services to our frontliners. We also managed to collaborate together with Teach For Malaysia (TFM) to provide mental health support to our teachers.
Despite going through a tough and challenging year, the CR team has managed to collate and gather useful information from the exploratory meetings, that can be used to strategize for the year 2022. It is worth noting that more work definitely needs to be done to advocate on the importance of mental health amongst organisations. Nonetheless, CR will keep moving forward to advocate and educate the companies to seriously look into inserting mental health as part of their company policy.
Advocating for Mental Health
In addition to providing accessible and sustainable support, destigmatization of mental health has always been a core mission of Thrive Well. Therefore, we launched TheTalking Walnut Series on our social media in hopes to foster a safe space to talk about everyday mental health experiences. The series introduced two adorable cartoon mascots - Tini & Wini to make the discussion of mental health a friendlier and less intimidating experience and received great support from our audience. We hope that you will continue to look forward to seeing more of Tini & Wini in the future!
Additionally, we also launched a few social media campaigns aimed at raising awareness of specific mental health topics, namely Youth Mental Health and the Kindness Campaign for World Mental Health Day. The Youth Mental Health Campaign focused on how parents, teachers and our community could take action to support the mental health of our youths, such as recognizing signs of struggles, bullying, coping skills for stress and anxiety. Later, in conjunction with World Mental Health Day on October 10th, the Kindness Campaign was launched to raise awareness on the small and simple actions we can all take to support the mental health of our community- kindness! The 2-week long campaign provided insightful knowledge on the impacts of kindness and sent friendly reminders on the simple ways we can all be kind and contribute to a safe and more welcoming community in Malaysia.
In collaboration with Relate Malaysia, MIASA and the Mental Health Association Malaysia (MMHA), we also launched the very first Community Mental Health Fund in Malaysia. The campaign aimed to address the urgently growing mental health demands of Malaysia during the pandemic by funding mental health training. The campaign even received newspaper coverages on The Star, Options, Harian Metro and The Rakyat Post where leaders of the mental health NGOs showcased their efforts in improving mental health services in Malaysia.
Moving forward, we hope to drive more advocacy for mental health on our social media, to empower our community to take the actions needed to support their own mental health, as well as to create a culture where speaking and seeking help for mental health is highly encouraged and supported.
Supporting the Thrive Well Team
Along with the implementation of the Movement Control Order (MCO) and transformation to Thrive Well, our People & Culture (P&C) department faced huge challenges in human resources. In face of the huge shift of employees and departments,we rolled out the Infotech System in June 2021, systematised the management of employees’ Payroll, Leave and Claim. We also issued six (6) policies, including Bullying, Harassment & Discrimination, Sexual Harassment Policy, Child Protection Policy, Employee code of conduct, Media & Press Release, and Covid-19 Kit, which will be rolled in the year of 2022 to enhance the safety and protection of our employees and stakeholders.
One of the main roles of the P&C is to manage staff development and performance processes. To ensure continuous development of organisational culture and staff engagement strategies, we organised two (2) internal workshops to improve staff engagement and soft skills, including Microsoft Word Training, and Design Thinking Training. Furthermore, along with the effort of every department, we enacted the budget headcount 2022 and proposed the Business Continuity Plan (BCP) for each team to ensure the continuous operation of Thrive Well in the future. Given that our staff have been working remotely and our tasks are being done online, we introduced cybersecurity policies and Google security features to guarantee efficiency of performance.
In order to better manage the Thrive Well employment and recruitment, we restructured and implemented a new recruitment process for Thrive Well mental health practitioner (MHP) and non-MHP in September 2021. One of the main highlights of our year is that P&C has processed a total of 376 applications and onboarded 84 new employees by the end of November 2021. We are looking forward to welcoming more MHPs and employees in the year of 2022!
Our Clinical Delivery and Management (CDM) team is responsible for managing the mental health professionals and trainees, including supporting their clinical practices and providing developmental support. This year, we successfully coordinated regular clinical group supervisions for our junior therapists with the guidance of experienced supervisors. We further assisted in planning and coordination of various clinical related workshops and training to our team, including virtual talks on sharing lived experiences as caregivers, survivors, families and friends to provide better understanding and destigmatize speaking up about social and personal changes.
Moving forward, we hope to continue optimizing our management process to better support our trainee counselors and clinical psychologists, as well as to support our staff in career development through career counselling workshops. We also hope to further promote career counselling services to the public in hopes of helping individuals explore their strengths and weaknesses and unpack various career options to find their unique place in the world.
Moving Forward: Thriving in 2022
Though the past 2 years of the pandemic had certainly been a huge challenge, it was also a time we were able to realize how resilient we are as Malaysians and how we can all come together as a community to support each other. We have come so far despite the challenges thrown at us. Therefore, let’s take a moment to be appreciative of all our strength, efforts and achievements all while we navigated through the pandemic, and look forward to greater achievements in 2022 as a community.
Thank you so much for all your support and efforts in supporting our journey thus far. We look forward to your continued support in 2022 as we strive to do our best to support you, our community, in return.