“Hi, my friend’s Primary 6 son wants to to commit suicide, what can we do?”

That single line, from a conversation with a friend, made mum-of-five Junia Tan’s heart break. She could not imagine just how much stress a 12-year-old boy could be facing to contemplate such a terrible thought.

The shock didn’t end there, as the very next day, Junia received news that a friend of hers had committed suicide.

She tells The Pride: “On the outside, he was always smiling and helping people. Who would have known his inner struggles?”

That, for her, was what really drove home the point of how Covid-19 has isolated people not just physically, but emotionally and mentally. And this was how Junia decided to start a ground-up initiative called Mums’ Space in September.

She asked herself what difference could she make to help alleviate stress experienced in many families during this time: Which led to her setting up a five-day lifestyle webinar that focuses on three important pillars of a balanced life: relationships, health and wealth.

“If creating awareness about mental health could remove the stigma, so we stop denying our negative emotions and seek help, or recognise the symptoms in those around us and save just one life – that to me is worth it.” Junia tells The Pride.

Mum-of-five sets up a space for parents
Junia with husband Derek Neville and their children (from left) Danielle Jacie, Isabel Joie, Chloe Jean, Elijah David, and Alexis Jodie on a day out to the zoo. Image source: Junia

As a mother, Junia’s heart has always been to support mums, who to her, are the centre of every family.

She recognises that if mums are in a better space, they in turn impact their families positively, which was how the initiative and the summit’s name – Mums’ Space – was came about.

Connect. Create. Celebrate.

The five-day event features experts coming together to create conversations on real issues that modern mums face in the new normal.

Each day has a different focus: Experts will talk about relationships with your kids, yourself and your spouse on the first three days, then focus on health and wealth issues on days 4 and 5.

With more than 40 experts from different industries and areas of expertise, the event will cater to mums dealing with all sorts of questions and situations.

Expect topics like “How do I raise creative and independent kids?” “How do I rekindle the spark in my failing marriage?” “Why do I feel so overwhelmed and sad all the time?” “How do I increase my energy so I can do more?” and even “How can I earn more money?”

Speakers for Mums' Space Summit
Panel speakers for Day 1, which focuses on deepening relationships with kids. Image source: Mums’ Space
Speakers for Mums' Space Summit Day 2
Panel speakers for Day 2, which focus on self-care. / Image source: Mums’ Space

And even though its name suggests that only women can benefit from the talks, Junia says the topics discussed will also benefit parents in general.

One of the speakers, Bryan Tan from Dads for Life, will share thoughts on parenting that revolves around self, kids and spouse.

Says Bryan: “The best gift that I can give my children is to love their mother. Even though my children are young, by watching how my wife and I interact, they can appreciate what strong relationships look like – and see that while they are not perfect, they are always centred on respect for each other.”

Junia shares with the Pride that she hopes this summit can help bring together collective wisdom from different experts to address the various needs of families in the most direct way.

She says: “There is so much help available and yet, too often parents are too busy to look for it. By creating a platform to showcase the different expertises of the solutions providers, parents can just tune in to listen.”

Challenges

Helming such a massive initiative was not an easy journey for Junia as she is doing this on a personal, pro bono level. All her speakers that she reached out are doing the talks for free as well as they share her passion for supporting mothers and fathers in their personal and familial journeys.

One of her biggest challenges was the lack of manpower given how quickly her idea grew.

She shares: “While the intention was good, I underestimated the magnitude of what it took. As I connected with different speakers, the event grew bigger. One of my key mums, who designed the logo & marketing materials, was admitted into ICU for Covid, another in charge of marketing had an eye problem which limited her screen time.”

There were times when Junia felt like abandoning the project but every time she felt discouraged, something would happen to remind her of the importance of being generous and creating ripples of kindness.

This helped her refocus on the bigger picture. And she says she is so grateful for everyone – speakers and those who worked behind the scenes alike – who have stepped forward to help her put together the event.

“I realise that the intent to share kindness does exist when we step out to do what is right. The right partners have come together in creating an amazing event where no one single person could have,” says Junia.

She adds that she understands that people might not be free to attend all the talks and panels throughout the five-day event, which is why she says to check out the schedule to tune in for the discussions that matter to you.

Registration is free, which gives you access to the Mums’ Space closed Facebook group for updates and recordings.

Junia says: “If tuning in to the summit could change a mother’s perspective about having alternative routes to success, or spark an idea for deepening relationships with their kids, or provide some tips to understand their ‘rebellious’ teenager, or help heal a strained marriage, it would be worth all the effort.”

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Top Image: Mums' Space