7 P.I.T.S.T.O.P. Principles for Mental Wellness

Office of Student Affairs (OSA)

John shares seven key principles that help promote emotional resilience and mental wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Photo courtesy of NUS Pitstop

The COVID-19 situation and the circuit breaker period that followed has not been easy for most of us, emotionally or mentally. Social service agencies such as Samaritans of Singapore (SOS), the Singapore Association for Mental Health (SAMH), and Fei Yue Community Services have noticed a spike in the number of people calling to seek support (Phua & Ang, 2020).

Recognising that some of our students might face tremendous stress about the uncertainty of examinations, finding employment in this gloomy economy, and concerns over the health of their family members, the NUS’ Student Wellness (formerly known as Student Support Services, or S3) introduced the initiative P.I.T.S.T.O.P. to reach out to students in need.

We took a leaf out of Stephen Covey’s book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (1989) and decided to consolidate evidence-based approaches and principles that promote resilience and mental wellbeing into the 7 P.I.T.S.T.O.P. tips (see Figure 1).

Figure 1. The e-flyer promoting the 7 P.I.T.S.T.O.P. tips.

The P.I.T.S.T.O.P. acronym makes it easier for us to remember the key principles that contribute to positive mental wellbeing. These principles might seem simple and rudimentary, but practising them regularly takes discipline. They help increase our emotional resilience and stress-coping abilities, which is important for both staff and students of the NUS community.

Our team had initially planned to launch the P.I.T.S.T.O.P. initiative during the Freshman Orientation Programme for 2020. However, given the COVID-19 situation and mindful that urgent mental health concerns had to be addressed, we changed our course of action. Instead, we distilled the P.I.T.S.T.O.P. tips that are relevant to the prevailing situation and shared them through multiple online platforms like OSAY!, the newsletter published by the NUS Office of Student Affairs (OSA), NUSync, a co-curricular activities (CCA) portal for NUS students and OSA’s Instagram page. In addition, we actively publicised our various support resources to the NUS community, and these resources were available both on campus and online.

Our mental health and wellbeing should be a priority during this challenging climate. We invite you to read more about the 7 P.I.T.S.T.O.P. tips on our website (http://nus.edu.sg/osa/resources/covid-19/7-pitstop-tips). Alternatively, learn about them by watching the animated video below (Click on the picture to play the video).


John CHNG is the Head of Student Wellness at the NUS Office of Student Affairs (OSA). Together with a bunch of enthusiastic Student Wellness managers, John and his team members reach out to students who are anxious through phone calls, wellness workshops and campaigns.

John is a trained counsellor and life coach. He enjoys incorporating cognitive-behavioural and other counselling-informed tips in chit-chat sessions with students so that they can live a more meaningful and fulfilled life.

John can be reached at johnchng@nus.edu.sg.


Covey, S. R. (1989). The seven habits of highly effective people: Restoring the character ethic. New York: Simon and Schuster.

Phua, R., & Ang H. M. (2020, April 15). COVID-19: Worries about pandemic see more calls to mental health helplines. CNA. Retrieved from https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/covid-19-fear-toll-mental-health-hotline-anxiety-singapore-12631710.

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