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Experiences From The Ground: Sharing by a Programme Administration Unit (PAU) Staff

I recently re-joined CCS after leaving for about 5 years to work as a Social Worker in a Family Service Centre. I became excited when I learned that CCS is employing a Registered Social Worker to address the psycho-social needs of CCS help seekers. I decided to apply for the job under the Program Administration Unit as I want to contribute towards this piece of work by CCS.

Help seekers who have a debt issue may also face other life challenges affecting their emotional coping, family relationship, employment, or addiction etc. These may affect their motivation and hope towards regaining control of their life, clearing their debts, and maintaining a good relationship with family members and the people they love.

Over the years, CCS has assisted help seekers on ad hoc basis whenever we come across their other needs and concerns that requires assistance from other organisations.

Under CCS Programme Administration Unit (PAU), we now engage and assist clients by actively reaching out to them when they show signs of distress and in need of assistance. They may have lots of anxiety and worries about their situation and may not have avenue to share and unload their stresses, and they may not know where to seek help. PAU will initiate conversation with them, provide them a listening ear and understand their need for support. If required, we will help to identify relevant helping organisation that can provide the support needed and do a formal referral to these organisations on their behalf.

I recalled having a conversation with a help seeker, referred to PAU by my fellow colleague, who was showing high level of stress due to debt issue and has fleeting suicidal ideation as his relationship with his wife has been strained. This was one of the earlier cases that I experience when I took up the job.
The help seeker broke down during our conversation when he started to share about his current situation and feelings. He has a debt problem and was worried about his inability to control his gambling addiction. His relationship with his family was falling apart and he has fleeting suicidal ideation. He later admitted that he needed help with his gambling addiction and emotional coping.

I managed to calm him down and discussed in detail about his concerns. He was receptive and glad that CCS could refer him for gambling counselling. I am happy to share that he has been on a recovery programme for the past 4 months and benefitted from the sessions.

That experience has given me added resolve in doing my job better. It is not easy for a grown-up man to breakdown. I could feel the tremendous stress, guilt, and hopelessness that he has to endure. I am glad that I was there to offer an avenue for him to unload his stresses and I am heartened to learn that he decided take charge of his issue and seek help.

Being from a social work background, I can understand the tremendous amount of pressure, stress, grief, and sometimes guilt that one may go through when faced with life challenges involving debt. They may be lonely in their journey while trying to regain control of their life. They may feel isolated and hopeless as they may be afraid to share their woes with family and friends. Having a non-judgemental avenue to air their concerns and having someone neutral to discuss about their issues will help them to regain control and begin to organise their life to address their issues.

The journey towards financial recovery can be tedious and lonely. CCS hopes to provide holistic assistance to all help seekers. We hope to be the beacon of light for help seekers and steer their lives towards brightness from the darkness that they may be in.

Contributed by Tan Kwang Eng, Credit Counselling Singapore. 

Published 30 September 2022.