ABOUT DR SIMON YAM (OR BRO SIMON)
MY PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE
My passion in personal development, psychotherapy and psychology started in 1998 when I researched into the development of a new form of playback theatre therapy. Upon the completion of my PhD with Murdoch University in 2002, I started exploring my passion for men's health and wellbeing.
Over the next 16 years, I developed my experience in this field, working with men with chronic health diseases, mental health and social displacement. In 2017, as the CEO for Men's Health and Wellbeing WA, I successfully tabled Western Australia's first Men's Health and Wellbeing Policy, because there is so much work that needs to be done for men's health issues across governments, providers, professionals and community. This Policy was launched in June 2019 by the state government.
LIFE COACHING AND PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT
With my Diploma in Life Coaching and skills in neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), I started my career as a life coach and mentor to blokes. I have a personal lived experience and narrative of depression and suicide, which allow me to truly understand the inherent struggles many blokes go through in life. I believe there is a reason why we experience these tumultuous chapters in our lives, and for me, these narratives add to my greater understanding of, and confidence in how I can help other men.
I have mentored and coached guys from a wide cross-section of demographics and diversities - men from different social-economic backgrounds, culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, ages, sexual identities, faiths and health conditions.
These fellas just want one thing - clarity and validation in what they want to achieve in their lives, identify and overcome road blocks, figuring out how to get there, and to get there successfully, without feeling they are any lesser of a man.
MENTAL HEALTH FIRST AID INSTRUCTOR
As an accredited Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Instructor with MHFA Australia, I am deeply passionate about how mental health and suicide ideation impact men as well as our wider population, including women and gender neutral communities. The stigma attached to, and the rate of male suicide is astronomical on a global scale.
The challenge is even more severe in Asian countries. I am determined to get the conversation going, and to advocate for action, beginning with men finding their inner courage and resilience to fight whatever battles they may be having so as to grow as a human being, first and foremost, and as a man - however they wish to define that for themselves.
MY PERSONAL LIVED EXPERIENCE: HITTING ROCK BOTTOM
I have a personal lived experience and narrative which allow me to truly understand the inherent struggles many blokes go through in life. My personal life and its challenges is no different to anyone else's. I have had my rough couple of years, to the point of giving up on life. I l felt like a total failure inside despite my achievements, and was feeling helpless, hopeless, worthless, resentful and very, very tired.
However, it took a tragic death – a suicide from a young bloke – to trigger the will to live, and to live the best life I have been given. I have learnt valuable life lessons along the way. I believe there is a reason why we experience these tumultuous chapters in our lives, and for me, these narratives add to my greater understanding of, and confidence in how I can help others.
My story is about survival – finding the courage and resilience to keep going, and to re-frame my reality to keep living life positively. It is about letting go of inhibitions, society expectations and barriers for men to speak up, to talk about our emotions, fears and insecurities, and to embrace our needs and desires as individuals on life’s journey.
MY BODY ART - EMBRACING MY HERITAGE AND VALUES
Many whom I have met - whether they are colleagues, trainees, peers, clients or even just hospitality staff at the local checkout - have often asked about the tattoos on my arms. I guess it is unique for them as it is written in Chinese characters. It is actually a 12-stanza poem hand-written by my late father when he was working in Africa back in the 1970s, while my mum, my sisters and I remained in Singapore. The poem reflected how much he missed his family, his deep love for us, and the core Chinese family values of harmony, benevolence, righteousness, courtesy, wisdom, honesty, loyalty, and filial piety. This was one of several poems he wrote, which really struck a chord with me. Having the poem on my arms is a way of reminding me of my family in Singapore, and how much my values, passed on from my dad, guide the work of my hands for the community.
WORKING AS A PEER LIFE COACH AND COUNSELLOR FOR GUYS
I have a clear mindset and the ability to conceptualise, understand and re-frame my clients' arratives and challenges, and find the most effective way to solve their problem.
I am a very keen listener, patient yet firm, curious yet open to sharing my experience as a peer and mentor.
I am a people-person and will always put myself out there in the service of blokes who will benefit from my experience and expertise.
As a bloke with diverse backgrounds, I am very accepting of people from all diversities. That is what makes us so unique and different, and we all have our own stories and challenges.
I have developed a great instinct in deciphering what may be on someone's mind. Let’s say it is very much based on strong intuition, and the ability to ‘read between the lines’ in any given situation. This certainly helps when guys are struggling trying to open up.
I have ‘get-real’ tools to help you unpack the clutter in your mind, challenge your limiting beliefs, unravel your dreams, and take you on your journey to reach your goals. My end game is for you to attain your goal, while actually enjoying the learning curve along the way. That is how we inevitably build resilience and courage to master our own lives.
I have a no-nonsense approach to my work, and am very professional in the way I deliver my brand and my services.
I have a strong focus on accountability. I am a coach and mentor that WILL hold you accountable. I believe in persistence and ‘standing by' my clients.
WHAT DO I DO AS A MENTAL HEALTH FIRST AID INSTRUCTOR?
To find out more about the Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training I deliver, click here to visit the page.