corporate social responsibility
How it began #2021
When she spoke with the editor, Felix Cheong, she learned several contributors also talked about tensions and mental health issues within their families in their letters. This is when Nanny realised the anthology’s potential to have a broader impact on mental health awareness.
The book was released in the same week as Mothers’ Day when Singapore and Malaysia were both battling new waves of the pandemic and circling in and out of lockdowns of varying levels of stringency. The lives and livelihoods of people were severely affected, and cases of suicide and depression were on the rise.
As pandemic-related mental health issues started to command news headlines, it only seemed apt for Bridges M&C, as a medical and healthcare communications agency, to lend their support towards the cause in their own way – through the sales of the book, ‘Letter to my Mother’.
It was in the thick of the Covid-19 pandemic that the idea for Bridges M&C’s debut corporate social responsibility (CSR) campaign was born. In late 2020, the agency’s founder and director Nanny Eliana was invited to contribute a letter to a literary anthology called ‘Letter to my Mother’. Through it, she shared the story of her father who has paranoid-schizophrenia and how it impacted the whole family.
The team began the campaign with a modest target of 70 books with the intent of channelling part of the proceeds from book sales to the Singapore Association for Mental Health (SAMH) and Befrienders Kuala Lumpur.
The campaign began gaining momentum through word of mouth and social media. We received support from past and present clients and business associates, friends, family members, as well as strangers who identified themselves as therapists, counsellors and clinical psychologists. The orders came from Singapore and Malaysia, and as far as France, Thailand, Taiwan and the United States.
Our media friends joined in their support by not only purchasing copies of the book but also highlighting the campaign to their readers and listeners. The team is very grateful to media outlets such as MONEY 893FM, CNA 938, The New Paper, Berita Harian (Singapore) and Malaysiakini for sharing Nanny’s story and raising awareness on the campaign.
Nanny also received personal notes from buyers with whom the book had struck a chord. They included a foster mother preparing her foster daughter for adoption, a daughter finally coming to terms with the loss of her father, and a former school principal giving copies of the book as Teachers’ Day gifts.
This made us realise the campaign had gone beyond raising money for our two charities – it had actually touched the lives of people.
The CSR campaign ran for six months and officially ended on 10 October 2021, in conjunction with World Mental Health Day.
A total of 170 copies of the book were sold. Additional donations from members of the public and Bridges M&C supplemented proceeds from the book sales, bringing the total contribution to the Singapore Association of Mental Health (SAMH) and Befrienders Kuala Lumpur to S$1,800 and MYR3,000 respectively.
the rest of the world
Bridges M&C would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who had shared our social media posts, published and broadcast interviews with Nanny, purchased books for family and friends, and donated towards the cause.
Every one of your contributions has played a part in raising awareness on mental health, and helping those struggling with mental health issues get the support they need.
The Singapore Association for Mental Health (SAMH) is Bridges M&C's adopted charity in Singapore for Bridges Gives Back 2021
Established in 1968, SAMH is a non-profit and non-government social service agency that provides a comprehensive range of mental health services; which include rehabilitative, outreach and creative services, to the community in Singapore. SAMH aims to reintegrate persons with mental health issues back into society through community-based mental health programmes, and services that provide rehabilitative care for these individuals, and support for their families and caregivers.
For more information, please visit www.samhealth.org.sg
The Befrienders KL is Bridges M&C's adopted charity in Malaysia for Bridges Gives Back 2021
The Befrienders KL is a non-profit organisation with the mission of alleviating distress and reducing the risk of suicide in Malaysia. To achieve this, trained volunteers offer free, confidential, and non-judgemental emotional support to anyone who calls their 24-hour telephone helpline (03-76272929) regardless of race, age, sex, or religion . In addition to organising talks and workshops to educate the public on mental health and suicide prevention, they also run 'Healing Connections', a programme whose objective is to provide emotional support to those who have lost a friend of family member to suicide.
For more information, please visit www.befrienders.org.my/