News Features and Commentary

Topic: The Good, Bad and Ugly of TikTok

“If we seem to be performing other tasks at our normal capacity, our TikTok usage should not be a concern. Otherwise, users could consider setting a daily limit on TikTok screen time through the app’s settings.” John Shepherd Lim

Looking at the meteoric rise of TikTok in Singapore, users and experts alike are left wondering what has driven its popularity. More importantly, what are the potential up- and downsides? In The Big Read by Today, Dr John Lim, SCC Chief Wellbeing Officer, chimes in on some psychological challenges that individuals may face with excessive TikTok usage. Read here for the full coverage!

Topic: Burnout within the Hustle Culture

“[The normalisation of heavy workloads] can make it hard for people to vocalise their struggles with burnout, as they might compare with the drive and pace of life that others seem to be coping well with, and fear being seen as weak.” John Shepherd Lim

Hustle culture refers to the mindset that one must prioritise work and constantly keep busy to advance their professional career. Yet, such work ethics can make one more susceptible to severe emotional and physical fatigue, otherwise known as ‘burnout’. To address this, SCC Chief Wellbeing Officer John Shepherd Lim provides some insight for Today into why burnout is exceedingly common within the hustle culture. Read all about it here.

Topic: New Years Resolution

“At the end of the day, goals should work for us. We should not feel enslaved to the goals we’ve set at the start of the year. Should we find ourselves feeling discouraged and defeated, perhaps it is time to relook our goals and set ones that are achievable.” John Shepherd Lim

Setting new year’s resolutions can help us to improve and grow. However, consistently chasing these goals over the course of an entire year can be challenging, and falling short of them may be detrimental to our mental wellbeing. In this article by Today, SCC Chief Wellbeing Officer John Shepherd Lim shares some tips on how to set realistic new year’s resolutions and successfully achieve them. Read more here.

Topic: Generation COVID

“Though growing up in isolation may allow them to be more self-reliant, it is also important for these youth to maintain a healthy level of sociability” John Shepherd Lim

Growing up during the pandemic has been rough for Singaporean youth, as their social, academic and professional lives have been derailed by the coronavirus. In this article by The Straits Times, SCC Chief Wellbeing Officer John Shepherd Lim outlines the pros and cons of being a member of “Generation Covid”. Read more here.

Topic: Holiday Blues

“Reflection often brings about mixed feelings: The excitement and anticipation of starting a new year, and grappling with unaccomplished matters in the past year.” John Shepherd Lim

The weeks leading up to the end of the year end can be one of the most stressful times, with many of us experiencing a case of the “festive blues”. In this article by CNA, SCC Chief Wellbeing Officer John Lim shares with us scenarios where we may experience the blues and what we can do to manage such emotions. Read more here.

Topic: Mental Health in the Workplace

“SCC founder John Shepherd Lim said it is not uncommon for people facing burnout or chronic stress to experience a drop in work productivity and engagement, which will directly impact organisational outcomes and performance.” — John Shepherd Lim, as quoted in The Straits Times

The pandemic has brought about many changes, one of which being the heightened awareness of mental health and its importance on employee wellbeing. In this article by the Straits Times, SCC’s Chief Wellbeing Officer, John Shepherd Lim, sheds light on the current mental health trends in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the importance of establishing workplace support programmes to protect the mental health of employees. Read more here to find out. 

Topic: Marriage & Infidelity

“Legally, any act of disloyalty is considered infidelity, for as long as the marital relationship has not legally been nullified.” — Kenny Chen, professional counsellor at Singapore Counselling Centre

Is it considered cheating if you enter another relationship amidst divorce proceedings? In this article by Mothership, SCC counsellor Kenny Chen shares common reactions of spouses who were cheated on and the recommendations for couples who are going through a divorce. Read here to find out more!

Topic: Marriage & Infidelity

“While the temptation to cheat might have increased due to the rise in conflicts during the pandemic, along with ready accessibility to dating apps, the desire to stray is a multi-faceted one.” — John Shepherd Lim

In this article by CNA, SCC’s Chief Wellbeing Officer, John Shepherd Lim, shares the reasons why men and women cheat, as well as the increasing prevalence of emotional affairs due to advances in technology. Read more here to understand the factors that contribute to emotional cheating, and how it can be avoided.

Topic: Workplace Harassment

“It is important to note that when it comes to harassment, a strong indicator lies in how the individual makes you feel.” — John Shepherd Lim

It can be difficult to draw the line between sexual harassment and seemingly accidental or one-off incidences. In this article by CNA, SCC’s Chief Wellbeing Officer, John Shepherd Lim, shares about the red flags of sexual harassment that people usually overlook and what are steps we can take in the event we are victims of workplace harassment, and how we can respond when we feel uncomfortable with the actions or attitudes of others towards us. Read more here!

Topic: Home-based Learning

In light of the growing number of COVID-19 cases, Primary Schools have returned to home-based learning. What are some struggles students face with home-based learning, and how can parents support them? In this article by The Women’s Weekly, SCC’s Chief Wellbeing Officer, John Shepherd Lim, shares practical tips for parents to help their child in their academic and social needs during this period of HBL. Read more here.

Topic: Teachers’ Mental Health

“We hope that these recommendations will also help parents and students to know of the behavioural changes that they can make in their everyday (interactions) that would really support the teachers in becoming more mentally well.” — Karen Soon

The COVID-19 pandemic has been hard on all of us, but it has been especially hard on this particular group of unsung heroes – our teachers. In this article by The Straits Times, SCC’s Project Lead in SCC’s first initiative, The Teachers’ Series, Karen Soon, shares more on the issues and struggles teachers are facing in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as some recommendations as suggested by teachers to help improve their wellbeing. Read more here.

Topic: Toxic Behaviour

“We are all guilty of toxic behavioural patterns from time to time, but the difference lies in how we respond to those who point those things out to us.” — John Shepherd Lim

It’s common to hear from our social circle about rants of “toxic” behaviour as they share about the difficult relationships they have experienced. However, what if these toxic behaviours are displayed by our family and loved ones? In this article by Today, SCC’s Chief Wellbeing Officer, John Shepherd Lim, sheds light on what it means to display “toxic” behaviour and when to draw the line. Read more here

Topic: Student Mental Health in light of the COVID-19 Pandemic

“To reduce the stigma among students, Mr Lim said that they must be convinced that seeing a counsellor is not a form of punishment but an opportunity for them to receive care and speak openly about their troubles.” — John Shepherd Lim

In light of the recent school tragedy, mental health is becoming more widely discussed in schools, yet a stigma remains: many students are concerned about how they will be viewed by their parents and peers for seeing a counsellor. In this article by Today, SCC’S Chief Wellbeing Officer Dr John Lim shares how the pandemic has intensified students’ underlying issues and how we should see counselling in a more positive light. Read more here.

Topic: Trauma and Suicide

“A traumatic event causes a ripple effect that can traumatise others beyond the community where the event happened.” John Shepherd Lim

The recent traumatic event at RVHS has greatly saddened us and we know that this is a very trying period for the students, parents and teachers of RVHS. In this article by The New Paper, SCC’S Chief Wellbeing Officer Dr John Lim offers insight into the ripple effect that a traumatic event can cause. Read more here.

Topic: Importance of Self-care

“In the long run, self-care helps us to function from a place of wellness and altruism, as having our personal needs met gives us the capacity to fully devote our attention and resources to care for others and contribute to things beyond ourselves.” — John Shepherd Lim

In this article by Channel News Asia, SCC’S Chief Wellbeing Officer Dr John Lim sheds light on the importance of prioritising one’s self for our own wellbeing which ultimately allows us to impact others in greater ways than before. Find out more in the article here!

Topic: Importance of Communicating Boundaries during Online Dating

“With individuals looking to meet their partners online, boundaries and expectations need to be constantly communicated so that both parties can be respectful of each other’s time and emotional resources.” — John Shepherd Lim

In this article by the Straits Times, SCC’S Chief Wellbeing Officer Dr John Lim shares some advice on how to communicate expectations so as to ensure that time spent on dating platforms is meaningful and purposeful. Find out more in the article here!

Topic: Pandemic Angst — Acknowledging Negative Feelings

“Rather than disregarding our negative feelings or invalidating it, it is about facing up to the reality of what is going on around us, while at the same time acknowledging that it is pointless to be bent on controlling uncontrollable things.” — John Shepherd Lim

In this article by Today, SCC’S Chief Wellbeing Officer Dr John Lim shares with us how the pandemic might be making us feel angrier lately, as well as some tips on how to deal with and reduce our pandemic angst. Read more here!

Topic: Managing Differences

“Rather than being too assertive about what others ‘should’ be believing, a more helpful way out is to provide them with information to consider, then respecting their agency for choice on what they eventually decide to think and do.” — John Shepherd Lim

In this article by Today, SCC’S Chief Wellbeing Officer, Dr John Lim, shares with us some practical tips on how to approach a loved one with opposing beliefs, as well as preventing disagreements from going south. Read more here!

Topic: Social Media & Self-esteem

“It is inevitable to experience some level of unhappiness or discontent, but a person’s way of reconciling what they see online with how they view themselves is a process that differs from person to person, and eventually affects the degree to which social media alters their levels of self-acceptance and self-love.”— John Shepherd Lim

In this article by TODAY, SCC’S Chief Wellbeing Officer Dr John Lim shares with us the reasons social media can affect our perspective of our self-worth so much, and what we can do to maintain our sense of well-being and self-esteem even as we use social media. Read more here!

Topic: Mental Health Stigma

“Realistically speaking, the strategic awareness of mental health is still a growing area in Singapore… there are many who view mental health not as an illness that can be treated, but as a fundamental character or mental weakness.” — John Shepherd Lim

In an interview with Homeground Asia, SCC’s Chief Wellbeing Officer Dr John Lim shared the importance of building a compassionate environment in the workplace so that employees will not be afraid to open up about their mental health struggles. Find out more in the article here.

In this CNA series on understanding the stresses and mental loads of mothers, Singapore Counselling Centre’s counsellor, Michael Thong, provides insight on why some working fathers often choose to contribute less when it comes to family planning. He explains that some men may have the perception to reserve their mental bandwidth for work, without realising that being less involved in family planning might result in more stress for their wives. Find out more in the videos!

Topic: No-fault Divorce

“Being trapped in a loveless, unsatisfying relationship can take a serious toll not just on the individual’s mental health, but also on their spouse’s and children’s mental health and well-being.” — John Shepherd Lim

What are some thinking points we can consider with regards to the no-fault divorce option? SCC was recently featured in an article by Channel News Asia, where Dr John Lim, Chief Wellbeing Officer of the Singapore Counselling Centre, shares some perspectives with regards to no-fault divorces. Read more here.

Topic: Mahjong and Addiction

“It would be helpful to decide within your group of friends how to space out mahjong sessions such that it will not negatively impact your financial resources and personal wellbeing.” — John Shepherd Lim

Dr John Lim, Chief Wellbeing Officer of the Singapore Counselling Centre, was contacted by The Straits Times for a commentary on the uptake of mahjong among the younger generation. He reminds young mahjong players to be careful not to become addicted, as well as set wagers within their financial means. Read more here.

Topic: Mental Distress during the COVID-19 Pandemic

“This Covid-19 season has been tough on us. It is important for us to look forward by making the most out of the things we do have, and to support those who are in emotional or financial need.” — John Shepherd Lim

 Dr John Lim, Chief Wellbeing Officer of the Singapore Counselling Centre, was contacted by The Straits Times for a commentary on mental distress amid the Covid-19 pandemic. He highlights the importance of social support, and of staying grateful for what we have. Read more here.

Topic: Suicide Risk during the COVID-19 Pandemic

“We need to be more receptive to receiving help and seeking help for our loved ones, instead of being hindered by the belief that we are going to be labelled as mental patients.” — Counsellor Joseph Rajagopal

Dr John Lim, Chief Wellbeing Officer of Singapore Counselling Centre, and our senior counsellor, Joseph Rajagopal were contacted by the Straits Times in a review of the increase in counselling cases and suicide risks during the Covid-19 pandemic. Mr Rajagopal encourages family members to go the extra mile to talk to family members who are in distress about their struggles as they are the first line of support. Read more here.

The Singapore Counselling Centre, represented by our Chief Wellbeing Officer, Dr John Lim, is proud to have been part of the panel discussion hosted by Jamiyah Singapore in January 2021. This talk, titled ‘Healthy Mind Stress Free Life’ put the focus on self-care and positive thinking to improve our mental health!

Topic: Parenting & Divorce

“Both parents must be committed to still play parenting roles in the child’s life; where both parents focus on moving forward as individuals while giving of their best selves to the child.” — John Shepherd Lim

Is divorce always harmful to our kids’ wellbeing? Dr John Lim, Chief Wellbeing Officer of the Singapore Counselling Centre, was contacted by Channel News Asia to share about the complex considerations that lie behind divorce and its impact on kids. Read more here.

Topic: Personal Boundaries during the COVID-19 Pandemic

“Decreased personal space is a “major stressor”, said John Shepherd Lim. “In every relationship, it is healthy for couples to maintain a good balance of personal and shared space, as personal space allows the individual to retain a sense of self and identity as well as meet their own wants and needs.”

COVID-19 has adversely impacted many of our relationships. If you have been going through a rough patch during this period of working from home, you are not alone. The Singapore Counselling Centre was recently featured in an article by CNA as our Chief Wellbeing Officer, John Shepherd Lim, shared his views on the reasons behind the high relationship stressors people are facing, along with how we can cope better. Read more here.

The Singapore Counselling Centre is proud to have been part of Workforce Singapore (WSG)’s Community of Practice (COP) in October 2018. This COP, titled Getting Ready for the Future of Work: Building Wellness into 21st Century Workforce put the focus on the mental wellness of our career practitioners, career coaches and guidance counsellors.

The Singapore Counselling Centre is proud to have been part of Channel NewsAsia‘s latest episode of Talking Point. Talking Point investigates a current issue or event- offering different perspectives to local.

In this episode, it explores Inside Road Rage – What Turns Singaporean Drivers into Monsters?

SCC’s Professional Counsellor Warton Ong was asked to share more about what causes road rage, and what drivers can do if they find themselves being riled up while behind the wheel. Some of the tips shared include breathing techniques, and re-framing the situation to see it from a different perspective.

By applying these tips, drivers may find it easier to calm themselves down and not pursue the incident.

Read more here.

SCC Workplace Harassment

John Shepherd Lim, President of the Singapore Counselling Centre, was invited to Channel News Asia to share with us on the issue of workplace harassment. The Singapore Counselling Centre used to see an average of 2 to 4 workplace harassment cases but in recent years, it has gone up steadily and we are seeing now an average of between 5 to 9 cases a month. What is workplace harassment and how prevalent is it today? Find out more here.

John Shepherd Lim, director of the Singapore Counselling Centre, was contacted by TODAYonline for a commentary on competitive parenting in Singapore. He advises parents who are not competitive, but are surrounded by parents not to be affected by them. Read more…

John Shepherd Lim was invited to Channel News Asia to share with us on the issue of anger. Anger is the normal emotional reaction to the perceived unpleasant issue. Nonetheless, if the anger is beyond a person’s control that could lead to intermittent explosive disorder (IED). A person with IED may involve in some forms of life-threatening behaviours such as hurting others, and breaking or damaging objects. Keeping a journal is an effective reflective technique that allows the person to introspect, monitor and manage the anger.

John Shepherd Lim, President of the Singapore Counselling Centre, was  invited to Channel News Asia to share with us on the issue of gambling. Gambling has become an alarming matter that needs our critical attention. Pathological or social gamblers might not be aware that their gambling behaviours are out of control and can disrupt their normal daily life functioning. If one’s behaviour is not treated appropriately, it might bring traumatic consequences to the person as well as to the family. Let us hear from Dr. John on the issue of gambling.

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The New Paper contacted the Singapore Counselling Centre for commentary on the case of school boys who were caught taking upskirt photos of their teachers. Dr. John shares his thoughts about filing a police report in such cases. Read the full article by The New Paper here.

John Shepherd Lim, director of the Singapore Counselling Centre, said a police report ought to be made when a person’s modesty is violated, even when the alleged offenders are young.

“This is to let the offenders know it is seriously wrong and a criminal offence, which will in turn send a message that there are boundaries that cannot be crossed, regardless of age,” he said.

The consequences of not filing a police report could increase the likelihood of the culprit reoffending, while the victim could suffer from a sense of injustice, he said.

Dr. Grace Li, Senior Counsellor, was invited to Channel 8’s 狮城有约:十分访谈 to give her commentary and insights about anger management and sexual curiosity amongst youths, and how parents can instill the appropriate values to guide their children.