Autism in Singapore

Written by: Alexia Teo (22-U1) , Vernice Tan (22-U1), Jovielle Bruto (22-A2), Naja Thorup Kristoffersen (22-A6), Yam Lok Sum (22-A1) , Lok Qi Ern (22-O1)

Designed by: Hao Rui (22-A4)

What is autism? 

Autism, also known as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a condition affecting brain development that can be severe or mild. People with autism can find it difficult to communicate and form relationships and may show repeated or limited patterns of thought and behaviour. 

People with ASD may also have different ways of learning, moving, or paying attention. Symptoms include difficulties with eye contact, not responding to their name, lack of gestures and facial expressions as well as getting upset by minor changes.  

Marginalisation of those with autism

People who have autism deal with discrimination and obstacles that deny them their rights as well as access to help. As a result, individuals with autism face marginalisation and poverty at disproportionate rates as compared  to others. 

The general public may have difficulties understanding the challenges faced by those with autism. For instance, people with autism may find it difficult to communicate their feelings and needs. This causes them to have seemingly extreme reactions to stressful situations. Hence, Singaporeans, who do not understand those with autism, often label them as “weird” and ostracise them from activities or groups. 

This form of discrimination, stemming from ignorance can stretch beyond social situations, affecting their opportunities  at school and work on a systemic basis. 

Employers, teachers and people with authority may discriminate against the label of autism without understanding the full extent of the individual’s capabilities. Employers may choose not to employ someone with autism due to the stigma attached to that label. 

Moreover, teachers may misunderstand the intentions of autistic students due to their lack of familiarity with the way they communicate and thus end up punishing them unfairly.

Processes like job interviews heavily favour those who are neurotypical. As a result, the chances of those with autism landing a job is often  determined by their ability to mask their autistic tendencies and appear as non-autistic as possible.

What structures are in place to help those with autism? 

In light of such difficulties, there exists  a need for external support. An example of this would be the measures in place for children diagnosed with autism. There are a variety of educational options available, mainly catering to children who can choose to attend customised curriculum or the national curriculum. 

Opting for the national curriculum would mean that children attend a mainstream primary school. Alternatively, children can choose to attend Pathlight School. Pathlight School is the first school in Singapore that specifically caters to the needs of those on the autism spectrum. Not only will students be taught the mainstream school curriculum, but they will also learn essential life skills and methods to overcome their differences. 

Pathlight school in Singapore 

Apart from the above measures, there are also other organisations in Singapore that assist children with autism. For example, the Autism Resource Centre Singapore is a charity started by a group of professionals and parent volunteers dedicated to serving children and adults on the autism spectrum to  lead meaningful and independent lives in society.

Other organisations  also include THK Autism Centre in Geylang Bahru and Eden Centre for Adults in Clementi and Hougang.

When it comes to integration into the workforce,  the Employability and Employment Centre (E2C) by the Autism Resource Centre offers services to assist people with autism to integrate more successfully into the working world. It also offers services for employers who are interested in hiring people with autism in their companies. By easing the hiring process of those with autism, employers are more motivated to them. 

What more can we do to help people with autism?  

Although there are currently some measures in place to smoothly integrate those with autism into society, there are still more ways in which we can further support them. 

Firstly, if we are in an appropriate position to give counsel – for instance, as a family member, or a friend, – we should make sure that they consult an appropriate specialist that is able to cater to their specific needs. This is because ASD  is a spectrum and people’s needs can vary from one person to another. 

For example, someone with autism may have difficulty communicating via speech. In response, these individuals are brought to specialists such as speech-language pathologists, who help them develop the ability to vocalise their thoughts. 

On the other hand, another person with autism could have virtually no issues with communication. However, they may have difficulty understanding social cues, which would require a different approach from a different set of specialists. 

Secondly, to accommodate a friend or family member with autism, we must strive to implement a predictable schedule and structure. This creates a sense of safety and stability that minimises feelings of anxiety or irritability, which may arise from inconsistency. This can offer great comfort to someone with autism.

Lastly, we should be wary of methods to help ease the burden created by sensory issues. People with ASD are hypersensitive and can get easily overwhelmed by the 5 senses. As a result, while in the presence of someone with autism, we must be conscious of how the environment around them may affect them.

Here are some ways to mitigate the effects of sensory overload: 

  1. Provide earphones to someone with autism when entering a noisy environment
  2. Install dim lighting 
  3. Refrain from using strong smelling perfumes or scents 

Overall, it is evident that those with autism face great difficulties in performing even normal daily activities, like moving around loud spaces or navigating social situations. Hence, it is essential to be aware of their needs as well as take action to accommodate for their differences to create a more inclusive society. 


Oxford Learner’s Dictionary. (n.d.). Autism. Retrieved from

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, March 28). Signs and symptoms of autism spectrum disorders. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from

Goh, Y. H. (2022, May 27). Living with autism: She loves social media and make-up but struggles with talking to herself. The Straits Times. Retrieved from

Hoo, L. (2021, August 18). A complete list of schools for children with autism in Singapore. A Complete List of Schools For Children with Autism In Singapore. Retrieved from

Menon, M. (2022, April 3). More can be done to support adults with autism, says parent. The Straits Times. Retrieved from

Autism Resource Centre (Singapore). (2022). Retrieved from

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Autism spectrum disorder: Communication problems in children. National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Retrieved from

Media and Bipolar Disorder

Written by: Alexia Teo (22-U1) , Vernice Tan (22-U1), Jovielle Bruto (22-A2), Naja Thorup Kristoffersen (22-A6)

Designed by: Alexia Teo (22-U1)

With the increasing focus on mental health and mental disorders, there has been a greater portrayal of mental disorders such as bipolar disorder (BPD) in media. From magazines, television shows, and even televised court trials, the world has an unprecedented peek into this disorder. With this greater attention, there has also been greater stigmatisation and misinformation regarding this disorder.

Before continuing with this article, you might want to check out our previous article on BPD to further your understanding. 

Public Perception of BPD

Bipolar disorder is a mental disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, concentration and difficulty carrying out daily tasks. Although most are familiar with the term, few are aware of the symptoms and the severe impact BPD has on a person living with it. It is a term often casually thrown around to describe a quick change in mood. This is mostly due to the public’s incorrect perception of BPD, largely due to a lack of understanding or inaccurate portrayal in the media we consume. 

For example, some people may think all individuals with BPD are crazy, unable to live fulfilling lives, violent or dangerous. In reality, BPD is treatable. Although it is certainly a challenge to live with, individuals diagnosed with BPD can still live happy and fulfilling lives. 

Portrayal of BPD in Media

Fatal Attraction is a thriller movie that, while praised for its engaging plot and high stakes, has only reinforced the negative stereotypes surrounding BPD, with the woman suffering from BPD portrayed as rabid and violent, stalking the main character.

These stereotypes are that their volatile and unpredictable nature makes them violent and dangerous. Naturally, when one hears of someone having BPD, their immediate reaction is likely to be shock and hesitancy towards asking more about it.

A good example of accurate portrayal of BPD in media is Clementine in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. She is presented as a character with BPD but is not portrayed as violent and manipulative like what stereotypes suggest. 

While such facets exist, it is important to have a nuanced understanding of the disorder, as media done inaccurately will only enforce these harmful stereotypes.

Demystifying BPD

Individuals diagnosed with BPD may swing between two extreme states of emotion — manic and depressive. Those with BPD may find themselves going through phases of high productivity or high disinterest towards work and thus affect their ability to have a full-time job. During manic episodes, they may also have difficulty sleeping and resting. On the extreme end, they may even have hallucinations. 

Luckily, there exists treatment for BPD, such as medication or therapy. Through this, many individuals with BPD have learnt how to not just live, but thrive with BPD. Thus, the reality for those with BPD is that they can enjoy the same experiences as we do and can live peacefully in society, which is a far cry from the unhinged maniac that certain media may portray.

What can we do?

If you have friends or family members struggling with BPD, here are a few steps you can take to help them improve and stabilise your relationship!

  1. Gain a deeper understanding of BPD 

If we want to support someone with BPD, we should first and foremost strive to understand them. By learning their triggers, such as separation, abandonment, and rejection, we can relate more to their struggles, thereby increasing our ability to support them. 

  1. Validate their feelings 

When one is in suffering, the last thing anyone wants to hear is that it’s “all in their head” or that their emotions are an overreaction. Instead, we should validate their experience as we do not have the ability to gauge their current state of mind. Thus, this would soothe their worries and help them focus their attention on how to improve their own lives. 

  1. Aid them in seeking professional help 

Educated professionals, who have accumulated a wealth of experience regarding disorders like BPD, are most capable of guiding those with BPD through their difficulties. Consequently, gaining access to professional help can significantly improve how those with BPD handle their instability, increasing their quality of life. 

  1. Look after your own health

In order to ensure we can continue to provide optimal support, we should also prioritise our own well-being by preventing burnout. Hence, this allows us to provide optimal help to them in the long run. 

In conclusion, when dealing with sensitive issues such as BPD, it is crucial to understand the entire situation and not be swayed by simply public perception. Moreover, we should be proactive in helping those around us who may struggle with BPD. 


Helping someone with borderline personality disorder (BPD). Mind. (2018, January). Retrieved August 11, 2022, from 

AAA #34

Designed by: Liew Yi Xuan (21-E1)

Question 1: Recently, I find it difficult to juggle between socialising with people that are not from the same class and my school work. Due to the fact that I don’t see them as often as my classmates, I can’t really socialise with them other than CCAs or outside of normal curriculum time. Thus, I find it hard to reject their time or spend time with them while trying to study during non-curriculum time. Please advise.

Hello! We completely understand your worries – it is indeed very difficult to manage the JC workload and your social life. Nonetheless, there are ways to help yourself through this dilemma! 

First of all, it’s a wonderful thing that you make such a great effort to stay in touch with friends outside of your class! Given the already hectic JC schedule, what you’re doing now is a great feat. 

It might be difficult to strike a balance between both friendships and your grades, however, there may be a way to do so. If your friends are similarly concerned about their studies, you could arrange to have a study date, in which you can both revise and enjoy their company! However, this will probably only work if you do not end up getting distracted by each other, which is another challenge of its own.

Seeing how you’re putting so much thought into maintaining your friendships, we’re sure that your friends appreciate your friendship, and would understand your decision. After all, they are fellow struggling students who can empathise with your struggles regarding the workload. 

If you still find it difficult to reject their requests to hang out, you could try finding quiet spaces to study, such as the library or various study spots around the campus. This would create an environment that is more optimal for studying, and would signal to your friends that you are not free at that moment in time. They would then be able to look for you later during your free time, allowing you to maintain your relationships while staying on task!

Aunt Agatha would like to assure you that things will work out; as long as you and your friends are considerate of each other, there will be a time to get together and catch up! 

Question 2: My friend won’t stop filming Tiktoks during lessons and it’s distracting. Help!

Hey there! Thank you for your open sharing. AAA would like to affirm that this is definitely a valid concern and provide some advice that may help you! Don’t worry, Aunt Agatha is here!

Firstly, it is completely understandable that a conducive environment is essential for optimal learning and we sympathise with your struggle. A classroom is a shared space and even a small distraction can be enough to prevent you from concentrating.

At the same time, your friend might not view their actions as distracting or a disturbance to others. They may feel they are just having some casual fun and have not considered the perspective of others who may not feel the same.

In this case, we strongly urge you to communicate with your friend! We believe this is the best long-term solution so as to preserve a harmonious environment in class for everyone involved. Everyone has their right to have a conducive classroom environment to study, so don’t feel bad! Besides, you are benefitting your other classmates too. 

You could try taking them aside and sharing your experience and feelings with them. By explaining your situation to them, they’ll better understand where you’re coming from and know that their actions are causing you distress. Be sure to emphasise that your sharing is not coming from a malicious place, and that you are merely trying to reach an understanding that benefits everyone. 

If you are nervous about the possibility of this intervention being perceived as a one-on-one confrontation, you could find other classmates who feel the same. Together, your friend would be better able to understand the extent of the distraction they might be causing in class and thus stop or minimise their actions.

Since the school campus is very large, you could recommend other non-study places for them to film Tiktoks at instead. (Such as the field, canteen, lift lobby, or cafe!) You could also suggest that they film these Tiktoks during their breaks, and not during lesson time, to avoid distracting other classmates.  

As fun as Tiktok can be, we fully realise that it can also be distracting to those who really wish to focus on their work. Hence, we hope that these tips are helpful to you in maintaining this balance with your friends in school! All the best!

Question 3: How do I deal with FOMO? All my friends are hanging out with each other but I have no time to spend on these social engagements because I have to juggle academic commitments. What should I do?

Hi! Aunt Agatha understands your worries and would like to reassure you that FOMO is a common sentiment amongst JC students. It is perhaps the dream of every student to attain the college triangle of needs that comprises good grades, a good social life, and enough sleep, but to do so would be a Herculean effort. Aunt Agatha can recommend ways to achieve a better balance of all of them!

You can initiate study sessions with your friends to maintain that harmonious balance between a social life and academic commitments, especially if you are someone who is motivated by studying with people! If you are taking similar subject combinations, you can even form a study group and discuss queries together. Additionally, it is never more rewarding than to go for a well deserved meal after an intense study session– and how better to spend this time than eating and chatting with friends? 

However, we understand that you may also prefer studying in solitude or get distracted by friends easily. Not to fret, for an alternative solution would be to maximise your time by engaging in productive studying alone, before asking your friends to join you for breaks.

It is very important to maintain a good study-life balance especially in JC where it is easy to burn out, so find something to motivate yourself– that could be spending break times with friends! While academic commitments may seem like an unrelenting stress factor which never ceases to exist, do remember to take care of your wellbeing and recharge so you can do even better, and spend time with your friends at the same time! Take care!

What is Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID)?

Written by: Jachin Khoo (21-U5),  Jacynthe Liew (21-O3), Leanne Soh (21-E6), Tan Le Kai (21-I4), Carissa Aletha Liem (21-I1) 

Designed By: Katelyn Joshy (21-U1)

Introduction: What is Dissociative Identity Disorder?

Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) is a severe form of dissociation, a mental process where one disconnects their feelings, thoughts and sense of identity. It is usually a result of a traumatic event, and people develop it as a coping mechanism to detach themselves from the trauma. Previously known as split personality disorder, DID is a mental health condition where one person has multiple identities. The “core” identity refers to the person’s usual identity, while “alters” refer to their alternate identities. Each alter has its own personality, behaviour, traits and even personal history. Some common signs and symptoms of DID include anxiety, depression and delusions. 

How do people with DID cope?

So, how do people cope with and manage DID? The most common treatment for dissociation is to go to therapy. An inpatient psychiatric program can be especially effective if symptoms of dissociation are particularly intense. Residential treatment, in particular, allows an individual to be immersed in healing practices and perspectives. It will allow people suffering from DID to develop therapeutic alliances, healthier coping skills, and a productive relationship with their stored trauma. Talk therapy can help DID patients work through the challenges they face when dealing with the condition, while stress management can help them identify and learn to deal with triggers that send them into a dissociative state. 

Practising relaxation techniques can also be particularly helpful when internal monologue gets too overwhelming and some strategies include a form of physical activity like yoga or doing hands-on projects like knitting and crafting. Grounding techniques are also essential in coping with DID and distractions such as television, time with pets and hobbies would also make DID patients feel more present in their bodies.

Creating a daily schedule to structure their day is an especially important part of coping with DID. Developing a schedule can help them stay grounded and present, removing unexpected situations that create stress or lead to impulsive behaviours. This will also help them to stay focused and prevent potential gaps in their memory. 

What should we not do around them/to them? 

The actions of the people around those suffering from DID can have a large impact on their condition, which is why you should avoid:

  • ‘Taking sides’ with any of component of their identities
  • Socially ostracizing them
  • Branding them as ‘dangerous’
  • Reminding them of the traumatic experiences which caused DID in the first place
  • Getting angry at them when they have an outburst

How can we help those who suffer from DID?

People with DID likely already feel isolated and alone in their suffering. When this person is living through the lens of an alternate personality that is unfamiliar to you, remember that this is still your loved one, and help them to feel accepted and supported regardless.

Firstly, stay calm during switches. Switching between alters can happen very subtly, and can also be more dramatic and disorienting. While this situation may be stressful and surprising, remaining level headed and meeting your friend where they are mentally can be enormously helpful. 

Secondly, try to learn and avoid triggers, which are external stimuli that cause them to switch between alters. Individuals with this condition may be triggered by anything that elicits a strong emotional response, including certain places, smells, sounds, senses of touch, times of the year or large groups of people. By asking them directly or observing their behavior, try to help your loved one avoid those triggers when possible. 

Thirdly, remember to take care of yourself. It can be difficult to stay vigilant of triggers and different alters. Often, people with this condition have been through intensely traumatic experiences, and hearing about these experiences can also be difficult. The best way you can serve your friend is to ensure your own physical and mental well-being. 

While your ongoing support is indispensable, you will not be able to help them through recovery on your own. This is a disorder that requires knowledgeable clinical attention and proven treatment options for lasting recovery. Thus, professional care can be enormously beneficial to someone with a DID. Unfortunately, because DID is so heavily stigmatized, many people who have it never seek treatment. 

If you know your friend lives with DID, let them know you care about them, and try to encourage them to seek treatment, if they are not yet already. Offer to help look for providers; lending a hand in finding a therapist or treatment center can make the idea of seeking help less daunting. You can even offer to accompany them to their first appointment, to give them support. If they are reluctant, you could also suggest getting started with teletherapy, where people can receive therapy services over the internet or phone, making it easier for them to ease into the idea of seeking treatment. 


Although rare, dissociative identity disorder is a very real issue and we should all do our best to practice some empathy to those around us. We should avoid seeing it as a case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, but to see them as humans like us. 


  1. Cleveland Clinic. (2016, April 20). Dissociative Identity Disorder (Multiple Personality Disorder) | Cleveland Clinic. Cleveland Clinic. 
  2. Dissociation and dissociative disorders. (2012). 
  3. WebMD. (2008, April 17). Dissociative Identity Disorder (Multiple Personality Disorder). WebMD; WebMD. 
  4. Hospital, B. R. B. (2021, August 13). 5 Tips to Handle a Dissociative Disorder. Baton Rouge Behavioral Hospital.
  5. How to Overcome Dissociative Identity Disorder. (2021, April 13). The Recovery Village Drug and Alcohol Rehab.
  6. BrightQuest Treatment Centers. (2019, June 19). How Dissociative Identity Disorder Affects Daily Life and How You Can Help.

Aunt Agatha Advocates: Effective Studying Methods

Written by: Liew Yi Xuan (21-E1), Jervis Ch’ng Yun Ping (21-U5), Jolina Prisha Nair (21-E5)

Designed by: Jervis Ch’ng Yun Ping (21-U5)

Exam season is nearing with full steam ahead. It may seem daunting, but fret not as Aunt Agatha is here to share our tips and tricks! The key to studying is not how much you study, but rather how you study. Your study methods will set the stage for your ability to apply all you have learnt. Our job is to ensure that you fully utilise your resources and maximise your capabilities. Read on ahead to find out about some scientifically proven study methods. 

Effective study methods

One effective study method is the ‘Pomodoro’ technique. One of the more widely known and used time management techniques, the ‘Pomodoro’ technique can also be used for studying, and can be very effective. Using this technique, one breaks up their time into smaller timed units of 25 minutes, also known as “pomodoros”, with a 5 minute break in between each timed unit. After about three to four of these timed units, one then takes a longer break of about 15 to 20 minutes.

This method of studying is effective as it allows our brains to take a break, assimilating the new information and resting for the next round of studying (CNC, n.d), which in turn allows us to retain information better. This technique can help improve concentration and time management with enough practice.

Another effective studying technique to use is retrieval practice, also known as ‘Active Recall’. This involves actively trying to recall information and knowledge that you have learned in previous lessons and classes. The act of revisiting the information that we have previously learnt helps us retain and remember it better, and thus makes it effective in learning. One thing to note, however, is that it is not the same as repetition. Repetition is repeatedly reading information, while retrieval practice is forcing yourself to recall information that you have previously learnt. It helps shift information into your long term memory for you to access whenever needed.

Healthy study habits to have 

Here are the five most important study habits we recommend for more productive days ahead.

  1. Keep your phones away! 

This may seem to be a tough feat seeing as to how you would have to give up your source of entertainment, but trust us when we say it will be worth it in the long haul. A #protip is to switch off your phone or put it on silent mode, keeping it out of sight and out of mind so that there are no distractions in the way.

  1. Planning ahead

Make to-do lists for every study session you have and ensure that it is an achievable goal so you don’t overestimate yourself and end up not completing some tasks! Having this checklist by your side may incentivise you to complete the tasks in your list, providing a source of motivation for you to push on.

  1. Consistent study sessions

It is not only imperative that you plan ahead, it’s also just as important for you to create a consistent, daily study schedule. Doing the same thing at the same time on a daily basis will train your brain into treating this as a routine. Your body will work like clockwork, and this allows you to be more emotionally and mentally prepared for each session, leading to more productive days!

  1. Take a break, have a Kit Kat! (or a chit-chat)

It’s important to learn how to take small breaks in between so you don’t end up suffering from burnout. Make use of the aforementioned ‘Pomodoro’ method and take sufficient breaks, but make sure you don’t get sidetracked by your devices!

  1. Review and redo

After every study session, review what you’ve learned, and practise ‘Active Recall’. This would ensure you have internalised the information you need to know and test yourself on your retrieval abilities. Do this every session and build on the information you learn each time, drawing connections and links to the things you’ve learned, and you will build a ‘tree of knowledge’ (or ‘The Wisdom Tree’, as Elon Musk would describe it) that’s fully interconnected and filled with information you can retrieve anytime. 


Studying can either be a chore or a pleasure depending on how we choose to see it. The way we approach our studies will directly affect the benefits we reap from them. There are dozens of study methods that can be adopted but none are one size fits all. Thus, it is important that we allow ourselves to experiment and find out what fits us best. Always remember, it is never too late to start. Aunt Agatha wishes you a happy and productive study session!


  1. Study Efficiently Using the Pomodoro Technique. (n.d.). College of New Caledonia. Retrieved August 23, 2021, from 
  2. Loveless, B. (n.d.). Study Habits of Highly Effective Students. Education Corner. Retrieved August 23, 2021, from

Aunt agatha Advocates: What is Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?

Written by: Eliora Tan Yu Xuan (21-E5), Harel Tan Zunn Yong (21-I2), Tan Le Kai (21-I4)

Designed by: Jervis Ch’ng Yun Ping (21-U5)

Introduction: What is Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)? 

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental disorder that is exhibited in some victims and witnesses of major traumatic and disturbing events, such as sexual violence, war, and natural disasters.  

In the past, PTSD was often associated with veterans, and was therefore given many names, such as “shell shock” and “combat fatigue” after World War I and II respectively. However, with time, psychologists discovered that it was not only veterans who might suffer from PTSD – there exists other groups of individuals who had similar symptoms, and were therefore diagnosed with the same condition. Like other mental health disorders, anyone can develop PTSD, regardless of ethnicity, nationality or gender. Therefore, we need to be aware of its symptoms,, the various ways to support those suffering from PTSD, as well as what not to say to them. 

What are the Symptoms? 

As a whole, there are 17 symptoms of PTSD, but the most common symptoms include intrusive memories, avoidance, negative shifts in thoughts and mood, and changes in physical and emotional reactions. 

Intrusive memories are characterised by severe, perturbing thoughts and feelings linked to negative memories, which come back to haunt someone long after the triggering event has passed. One may re-experience the traumatic event repeatedly via sudden relapses when reminded of the incident, or even through harrowing nightmares. 

Individuals may also avoid making conversations about their experiences, and intentionally shun away from any place, activity or people which remind them of the traumatic event. 

Victims of PTSD experience negative changes in thinking and mood, which include a sense of hopelessness, a bleak view of the world around them, or a sense of detachment from their loved ones. Memory loss is also a possible symptom of PTSD, given that individuals often seek to forget the haunting encounter.

Lastly, changes in physical and emotional reactions occur in terms of insomnia, irritability, guilt, shame, and a wealth of emotions. 

These symptoms have varying levels of intensity, depending on an individual’s ability to cope with the traumatic event. One may experience more of these symptoms when put under intense stress, or when constantly reminded of the shocking experience. 

Ways to Support Those with PTSD 

When we try to support those with PTSD, the very first step is to be mindful of our words and actions. It would also be helpful to educate ourselves about PTSD given that it is often misunderstood and there is a stigma attached towards it. 

One way of supporting PTSD patients is to lend them a listening ear and listen to their thoughts without any expectations or judgements. While we should never force them to open up about their emotions , we can be there for them when they are ready to talk.

A person with PTSD may find the need to air out their negative emotions in relation to the traumatic event as this is part of the healing process. We  should practice active listening to actively engage with the PTSD patient, and not undermine or compare their experiences with others as we do not fully understand what they are experiencing.

Another way of supporting those with PTSD is to encourage them to seek professional treatment from a psychiatrist. PTSD is a mental condition that is commonly trivialised by many, and this very stigma may cause  potential victims to be hesitant to seek treatment. 

As such, we could encourage them to seek help by being by their side every step of the way and going through the treatment process with them. This could give them more assurance and make them more inclined to seek treatment. 

How People with PTSD Cope

There are a few ways one could cope with PTSD. 

Some PTSD patients live with PTSD by finding ways to distract themselves from their traumatic memories. This can be done via a multitude of methods such as regular exercise, picking up a hobby or making new friends. These methods  help them to avoid being reminded of their traumatic experiences, enabling them to lead normal lives.

Other PTSD patients might resort to seeking counselling to cope with the trauma. Counseling offices can offer a safe and calm space for PTSD patients to speak their emotions without any fear of being judged. Having a trained professional  available to offer support and guidance will help in their long-term recovery.

Some PTSD victims also find it relaxing to journal their thoughts and have a consistent place to go back to in order to write and process their experiences. Research has shown that people struggling with PTSD benefit from keeping a journal, including experiencing fewer flashbacks, nightmares and intrusive memories, helping them slowly reconnect to people and places that they may otherwise want to avoid.

What Not to Say to Someone with PTSD 

  1. “Stop being so dramatic”

This statement trivializes the experience of one suffering from PTSD. While what is ‘traumatic’ varies from person to person, these are frightening experiences to those suffering from PTSD, and they continue to suffer from stress and fright from the experience. To dismiss  their very real experiences as an exaggeration can be extremely hurtful and demeaning. 

  1. “It is all in your head.”

While most mental disorders are indeed psychological, this statement implies that PTSD is simply born from imaginations and can easily be ‘forgotten’. The truth can’t be any further. PTSD symptoms are recurring  and often instill genuine fear and stress comparable to their actual experiences. In other cases, avoidance symptoms occur as sufferers try to block out thoughts and reminders of the event, which is unhealthy because of the extreme mental duress . PTSD sufferers often need psychotherapy and medication as treatment, recovery is not as simple as ‘getting it out of your head’. 

  1. “People have been through worse”

Yes, we all know people have been through worse, but it is again trivialising the experiences of those suffering from PTSD. When we feel hurt, we would appreciate for those around us to express their care and concern, not for others to say statements that trivialise our experiences. The same goes for PTSD patients, who are battling their demons and would like to experience care and support. 

  1. “Do you act up in public?”

News articles may often report of PTSD sufferers ‘acting up in public’ or portrayed as such in movies. While it is true certain triggers, which may often seem out of the blue, can cause freight and irrational actions, it varies from person to person. For example, only 49% suffer flashbacks, which often triggers ‘acting up’. Most will experience stress and freight but will not act irrationally. Most are undergoing therapy as well to cope with their PTSD. It is good to exercise compassion and empathy and understand it is often out of their control. 


While PTSD is more often associated with war veterans, it is not only limited to war veterans but those who suffer traumatic experiences as well. There could be people around us that may suffer from PTSD, making it all the more important for us to reduce this stigma that may trivialise and mock their experiences. It is important we care for these individuals who exist in our community and  educate ourselves to know what they have been and are going through. 


  1. Mayo Clinic. (2018, July 6). Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 
  2. NIMH » Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. (2019, May). National Institute of Mental Health. 
  3. Torres, F. (2020, August). What Is Posttraumatic Stress Disorder? American Psychiatric Association. 
  4. Wall, S. (2021, June 14). What are the 17 Symptoms of PTSD? | PTSD Awareness Month. Cumberland Heights. 
  5. Washkowiak, K. (2020, January 15). 10 Things Not to Say to Someone With PTSD (And Some Alternatives). Yahoo! News.
  6. MacDonald, B. et al. (2017, 18 October). Prevalence of pain flashbacks in posttraumatic stress disorder arising from exposure to multiple traumas or childhood traumatization

AAA #33

Designed by: Lay Kai En, Ashley (21-O1)

Q1: I hope I don’t flunk my exams. I try not to have expectations but I subconsciously do and I end up disappointing myself when I don’t meet them. What should I do? 

Hi there! Aunt Agatha hears you, we’re sure this is a common sentiment amongst many students and we would like to offer you some advice!

Before anything else, we understand that as a student, it may seem that grades are everything. Those letters on our results slip seem to define us, but we must remember to remind ourselves time and time again that they do not! Who you are as a person is much much more than how many marks you score on a test, and how many ‘A’ grades you obtain. 

Next, having expectations for yourself is not necessarily a bad thing, but do make sure that the goals you set are realistic so that you don’t unnecessarily disappoint yourself. ! It’s impractical to expect to jump from a ‘U’ grade to an ‘A’ grade almost immediately, so try to take it one step at a time. This way, you will find yourself less stressed and it will also be a lot easier to cope in the long run. Reaching these goals will also be much easier, and these short-term, realistic goals will provide you with small boosts of motivation on your journey to reaching your long-term goals!

Last but not least, Aunt Agatha would like to assure you that it is only the Mid-year Examinations, and that there are many other opportunities for you to pick yourself back up. For now, celebrate the good results and don’t be too disheartened by the bad, and we wish you all the best!

Q2: Blended learning has been quite challenging for me as the workload is usually a lot bigger than normal school days. How do I cope with the workload and manage my time better at home?

Hey there! A lot of us are probably in the same situation right now and I understand that it can be hard to get used to Blended Learning, especially for those of us who prefer a fixed schedule and are used to our campus’ study environment. Aunt Agatha hears you and is here to give you some advice! 

Firstly, to improve your concentration at home, you can create a study space to stay organised. Most times, many students find it hard to focus on online lectures or meetings because they do not have a consistent workspace to study routinely. As a result, they tend to be distracted and lose productivity. Thus, you might want to establish a regular study space, whether it be a study table in your room, a countertop or even the living room table! 

Next, you can practice time management by creating a weekly schedule to follow. You can designate certain hours of the day to certain subjects and you can also set frequent reminders on your phone to stay on track! I know first-hand that this is easier said than done because I, too, find it quite challenging to follow timetables without anyone’s supervision. However, if you stay consistent and persevere through all your impulses to diverge from the schedule, it is possible to train yourself to follow it closely! 

Lastly, I would like to end off by saying that practice makes perfect! As long as you stay consistent and follow a schedule that suits you, you will definitely grow accustomed to Blended Learning. Good luck! 

Q3: With promos/prelims right around the corner, how can I plan my time such that I can get the most out of my revision, without burning out too quickly?

Hello there, Aunt Agatha here! Don’t worry, that is a problem many students commonly face with such a large scope for the end of year exams. Naturally, you would need to plan for your revision wisely to maximise your learning!

Firstly, your revision plans need to be detailed! Do plan out down to the exact chapter you are going to revise or the specific pages or topics of the practice questions. Of course, you would also need to allocate a time slot for every separate task you aim to complete! Even if you are unable to complete your pre assigned task within that time frame, just continue on to what was next on the list, instead of letting it snowball.

Secondly, always remember to take care of yourself, both physically and mentally, to ensure you never burn out in this season of revision. For example, you could plan for short breaks spread out across the day, giving you consistent mental breaks to ensure you can continue working productively! Do remember to exercise regularly, try a quick jog in the morning or stretching before bed, and don’t forget to keep yourself hydrated. We cannot stress how important it is to keep yourself healthy in this stressful period, which helps boost your morale and keep your energy levels up throughout the day!

Overall, these are some little but helpful habits that you could cultivate whenever exam season rolls around. Do remember to customise your schedule to fit yourself best and allocate time to pursue your interests!

Q4: Since coming to JC I’ve been falling behind in my academics even though I’m studying the same way I did when I was scoring well in secondary school. I’m starting to lose motivation and focus; what should I do? 

Hi, Aunt Agatha knows what you mean! Entering this new phase of your life means that many things will be changing, and study methods are likely to be one of them. Because the way the syllabus is structured is different and the content taught is more challenging, it is not uncommon for students to have to switch up their study methods to keep up with their academics. 

You need to remember that pure memorisation will no longer get you far. Maybe it is time to gain some deeper insight on what you are studying, so that you can better understand the workings behind the content presented to you. This can help you formulate more insightful responses to the questions in exams, and also be able to link various concepts together better! If you are unsure how to begin, you can start by reviewing your notes and jotting down areas that you are unsure of, and follow up by consulting a teacher or external tutor. If you have friends whom you know are well-versed in the topic, you can approach them too! Who knows, they might be able to explain it to you in a way that you understand more easily than if you consulted a teacher. 

Feeling worried that  your old study methods are no longer working the same as they used to is completely normal! Changing study methods might seem daunting, but don’t give up! If you’re feeling discouraged, try talking to some friends about it, and maybe even create a study group! Whether face-to-face or virtual, study groups can help your motivation, as well as hold you accountable. 

Ultimately, find a study method that suits you best (that is not just pure memorisation!) and stick to it! If you’re concerned that it might not be suitable for school, you can review your study plan with a teacher, and ask them if it is feasible. All the best for your exams; you got this!