Resilience Campaign and Video aims to stop stigmatization of failure and people with disabilities

A recently released video by ‘Rebound with Resilience’ – a social campaign started by communications studies undergraduates from NTU – has generated some interest online.The 12 min long video started with students candidly sharing their thoughts on failure, to which a cast member said: “devastating…some say failure can be a wake-up call, but it’s easier said than done”.

The surprise twist was that ‘strangers’ had been listening to them behind a curtain, and could offer advice on overcoming failure. These people were representatives Glow in the Dark (GITD), a social enterprise that gives opportunities for people with disabilities to do public speaking.  The conversations that followed were heartwarming, and the students’ were inspired in the process. Apart from changing our view on failure, the video also aims to reduce stigma and raise positive awareness for people with disabilities, as contributing, fully able members of society.

In recent commentary, a senior psychologist at IMH shared that a hypercompetitive culture with an unhealthy focus on grades could breed severe test anxiety and a fear of failure, which affects the mental health of students. These sentiments are echoed by the founders of the campaign, which led them to start ‘Rebound with Resilience’.

The co-founder of the campaign, Kevin Wee, shared his motivation: “I first came to care about mental health and resilience when I saw a Primary 6 student, huddle in the corner of a toilet after receiving his PSLE results.  He was trembling and said “my life is over”. I thought: ‘No 12 year old should ever feel that way because of a few alphabets’. The irony is that I once felt that way after doing poorly in my ‘A’ levels. Failure is often stigmatized, yet success is a result of learning from multiple failures. Hence, we started this campaign in hopes to change the way society view failures: not as a personal failure, but rather an opportunity for positive change”

As part of their campaign research measuring resilience in 667 students, 69% of them felt that they were ‘sometimes not good enough’. In the 2 focus groups they conducted, common sentiments include how they found it “difficult to accept failure” and see it as “very demoralizing”.

Apart from their online content, the campaign team has partnered with GITD to conduct assembly talks in 6 schools and experiential games with over 1000+ students, each designed to teach a specific message on resilience.

Another unique element of the campaign include photofeatures of stories of resilience. Success is often talked about in isolation, yet this segment gives a raw look into the emotional struggles/failures before success. A prominent feature includes Yip Pin Xiu, 3 time Paralympic Gold Medalist. In a video interview, she also answers students’ questions on failure/setbacks. These features can be found on the campaign Facebook page or their Instagram (@reboundwithresilience)

Rebound with Resilience will continue producing relevant content and information on how to cultivate resilience.  They will also holding a free event on 13 April, entitled “Giving your children the support to be mentally resilient”. Interested readers can follow their page for updates.