Over The Rainbow

About Over The Rainbow (Singapore)

Over The Rainbow is a non-profit with a vision to make mental wellbeing a top priority and for youths to realise their fullest potential through discovery, healing and transformation. This is a powerful vision which was borne from grief and tragedy.

Founded by 2 grieving parents in 2010, who lost their son to manic depression, Over The Rainbow is focused on youths in Singapore, and their holistic wellness. The organisation subsidises psychotherapy sessions through psychologist partners and conducts wellbeing events.

A story about over the rainbow

Over the rainbow reminds me of the song from Wizard of Oz and its composer and lyricist Harold Arlen and Yip Yarburg. In 2001, this song was voted the greatest song of the 20th century by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Recording Industry Association of America.

Greater yet was the inspiring story of Yarburg. The song is an expression of having hope and feeling anxious, and the desire to take action. This is life. Life is being purposeful yet recognising our feelings and vulnerabilities but remaining hopeful. Ray Dalio calls his way of living to "struggle well".

Struggle well perhaps was Yarburg's life story too. Yarburg was a son of poor Jewish immigrants and had to work his way up. Unfortunately his electrical supplies business was wiped out during the great depression leaving him with nothing. He was writing as a side hustle and in an interview with the New York Times, Yarburg recalls finally having no choice but to write for a living. On hindsight, Yarburg shared that the great depression was his lifesaver.

When cast in desperate times, the ability to work from a place of capability and strength helps build positive momentum and change. As in The Heroes' Journey, Joseph Campbell writes about meeting adversity, death (meeting failure) and rebirth. That cycle of facing our struggles hauls us into action and we learn through it.

Youths and resilience

A traumatic experience in psychology is the emotional response to a distressing trigger. This is a personal experience and we can never fully understand how a person feels and reacts to trauma because we didn't experience the exact trauma (and related past experiences) ourselves. What is important is to inform and prepare ahead and actively pursue healing.

Understanding our capabilities, strengths and assets (resources available to us) is a fundamental approach to trauma-informed care. The Arizona Trauma Institute and in particular its founder and CEO, Dr Robert Rhoton, stresses on building a therapeutic alliance (being safe and vulnerable) with the therapist and on being asset-focused.

Below is an activity to help youths understand their successes, their strengths, capabilities and resources. Do so while playing and contemplating the lyrics for Over The Rainbow.

Stress relief and resilience

Each time we are able to encounter and overcome a struggle, we build another totem in our life journey which builds on the narrative we have of our self. When we encounter stress and attend to it positively, we identity with the ability to overcome a similar encounter in future. Hence mood regulation and up-regulating our emotions is important.

Here's a tool for youths to calm down and relief stress through immersive VR on the phone or computer.

Student Wellbeing Mood Regulation Tool

If you'd like to speak with someone about a concern or about your wellbeing, chat with Avie, a service by Over The Rainbow Singapore.

Over The Rainbow has a partnership with Think Psychological Services to provide subsidised psychotherapy for 11 to 20 year old youths. The subsidised rate is $100 per 60 minute session for a package of 6 sessions (unsubsidised rate of $200).

Tele-therapy with a professional therapist is the primary way of conducting the session. If you'd like to find out more, visit this page.

If you have decided on therapy, please fill up the form from the button below.

lyrics for over the rainbow reflection

While listening and reading the lyrics to the song, I've picked out some questions that could be helpful to you.

Reflection topic: "And the love dreams that you dare to dream, really do come true"

  1. What are the dreams you don't dare dreaming of (or wishing for)?

  2. What dreams in the past had indeed come to fruition?

  3. What feelings came about when your dreams were fulfilled?

  4. What did you do or what capabilities, strengths and assets did you have to fulfil the dream(s)?

  5. What were the challenges faced in the process of that dream coming true?

  6. What capabilities, strengths and assets did you acquire, develop, improve on, or identified, in the process of facing such challenges?

  7. Imagine yourself fulfilling a past dream and reflect on Question 1. What is the 1 small task you could take concrete action to start pursuing this dream?

Reflection topic: "Where trouble melts like drops"

  1. What troubles you at this moment?

  2. How does this trouble make you feel?

  3. Is there a desire behind the trouble? (e.g. to be understood, loved, appreciated, heard, to be successful, etc.)

  4. Reflect on a similar situation where your heart's desire caused distress, but you eventually overcame that trouble.

  5. What growth or learning about yourself did you acquire in that past situation?

Allow the song's message of hope resonate in your heart and recall the earlier examples of overcoming challenges and how positive momentum and energy can be borne out of tragic events.

other youth wellbeing initiatives by Over the rainbow singapore

OTR Listens - a text based chat support operating from 4pm to 12mn

Rainbow Connection - an annual publication on mental wellbeing for youths in Singapore

Volunteer as a wellbeing champion - learn to be a wellbeing champion and volunteer at Over The Rainbow