Whilst AETOS security personnel looks after the key national installations and border checkpoints, it is critical to look after their overall health and wellness; including their emotional and mental wellbeing.
We spoke to Senior Trainer and certified paracounsellor, Mdm Aihni Samat, from the AETOS Training Academy, who had helped pioneer and champion mental wellness initiatives in AETOS.
How did your interest in mental wellness begin?
Before I joined AETOS, I was a trainer with Singapore Sports Council, where I specialised in mental skills. I worked closely with athletes to teach them how to reach and maintain their peak performance standards, while still being able to relax and find enjoyment in what they do. I picked up a strong foundation in this area while I was there, and often passed on the tips and tricks I learned to my family and friends – who told me that they experienced positive improvement.
What made you begin your journey as a paracounsellor here?
When I joined AETOS and was first deployed as an Auxiliary Police Officer, I observed that some of my fellow officers were often stressed out and unhappy. I recalled feeling very sad after the news broke one day that we had lost one of our own – did these officers have an outlet? Did they have anyone to talk to or to lend a listening ear?
After I approached my Commanding Officer, Habhajan Singh, and volunteered to help out, he encouraged me to raise my concerns with management. I was subsequently selected to attend a paracounsellor course held by Singapore Police Force, and then shared what I had learnt by conducting classes for other volunteers.
Do you have any success stories? Definitely! I remember one officer who was referred to me directly by Commander – she was in a really bad place at the time. During our counselling sessions, I recall advising, “You have to learn how to take care of yourself before you can take care of others. Learn to love yourself first.” When I ran into her sometime later, she was a completely different person, and seemed so much happier - it was as if she was glowing.
Of course, I’m also glad that AETOS now has many officially certified paracounsellors – whom we now call well-being coaches, throughout the organisation. I am happy that I was able to help get things started as a pioneer. We currently even started a Mental Resilience course for trainees, where we focus on helping them cultivate a positive mindset and share tips to stay resilient amidst adversity. These are important areas that would be most helpful not just for the workplace, but when handling personal issues as well.
Do you have any mental wellness tips to share with us? We all need to learn how to be emotionally intelligent - by being able to understand and recognise our own emotions, why we feel that way, and their impact on the people around us. Self-awareness is the first step to mental wellness and being able to manage your own emotions in positive ways!