Accepted; an interview with the founder of the online mental health support group

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Accepted – Self Help Support Group, is a group on Facebook open for any individual to join offering individuals who suffer from mental health issues to meet one another and get a chance to talk with each other about their lives and the issues they go through. The pioneer, having gone through mental health issues herself, understood that even though many times you are surrounded by family and friends, they still won’t be able to understand your struggles very well. Insite approached the founder who preferred to remain anonymous and this is what she had to tell us about the venture:

  • Can you tell us something about your background?

I’m 23 years old with crazy dreams and ideas I guess. I started studying care and then decided to change and studied beauty therapy instead. I worked as a beauty/massage therapist for around 3 years and it was amazing. I loved pampering people, doing their eyebrows and all but I was most satisfied when I managed to de-stress someone with an amazing massage. This did not give me enough satisfaction though and I wanted more in life and I still want to give more; I love helping people so I saw an opportunity to work as a job coach and decided to take it and after a year and a half I’m still working with the disabled as a job coach. To further my job knowledge, I am now taking a course at the University of Malta in disability studies. My wish at the moment is to continue working in this sector, and continue studying.

  • From where did you get this idea?

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I myself suffer from a mental illness and when I went through tough times I always wanted something like this, some sort of support group and at the time I needed it there were none available. Even though you are surrounded by family and friends, you still feel that no one understands you. When you are surrounded by people going through similar situations or are suffering from a mental illness you feel more comfortable and more understood. Psychologists help but sometimes it feels like you are being labelled, it sometimes feels like you are being studied as well. When an opportunity came in hand, I discussed it with my friend and she was as excited as I was, so we teamed up and said why not.

  • Why did you choose Facebook to start this group?

Well it all started by forming a group first within a community, we needed more people to attend the group so I decided to start a Facebook group.

  • What are the main aims of this group?

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To be there, to support and for people to know that they are not alone suffering from this illness. It’s a crazy world we live in, and unfortunately in Malta the Maltese tend to avoid talking about, or owning up to the presence of Mental Health issues in the family. So, I’m hoping this group will start to break the stigma against mental health and eventually we will create more awareness.

  • How can a person suffering from Mental Health benefit from this group?

Most people attending this group are either sufferers of mental health issues, going through tough times or are feeling lonely. We hope to be beneficial in a way were no judging is happening, an environment where no labels are present, everyone can talk freely and that as a group everyone will work hand in hand even offering shoulders to cry on.

  • Can you tell us more what the sessions you hold are about?
We gather around together and discuss what is bothering us, how our week was, and whatever comes to mind. We are there to support each other. I guess it is like attending an AA meeting, we also have ground rules put in them most important being that what is said will remain in full confidentially. Since this is new for my friend and I,

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we are developing sessions as we go.
  • Who can attend these sessions?

Anyone! Anyone who feels lonely and wants to talk, all ages, and any person searching for support. Everyone is welcome.

  • Are there any other plans for the future?

At the moment no, we are hoping that the group grows and eventually we will start organising outings. We also would like to organise talks such as mindfulness, and maybe also bring a psychologist over from time to time so we can discuss certain problems happening within the group. This obviously takes time and since it is all voluntary based it is also hard to find people willing to offer such services for free.

Written by

Sarah Cassar Dymond

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