Self-Help and Mental Health
Humanlinks was created out of a deep need for its members to meet people with common experiences and share their experiences with each other, to gain strength and hope to overcome life’s trials. To come out of the isolation and feelings of loneliness they had developed due to social exclusion and the nature of the psychological symptoms of their disorder and their inability to identify with existing mental health service provision. After 14 years and with psychosocial support, they are now able to maximize their recovery in key areas of their lives, learning to look after themselves, nurture their relationships and fulfil their dreams. They develop various activities, based on their desires and interests, which they plan and coordinate themselves, thus reinforcing the concept of self-help, which is the basic philosophical foundation of their approach and the way they operate
For us, self-help does not mean cutting off and discontinuing all clinical or other types of professional support when it is necessary to manage the symptoms of the disorder we are suffering from. Self-help for us means distinct roles and good relationships with our doctors and health services that we can use whenever we need them to support us. Cultivating within ourselves the right to be well informed and to have a say around the treatment options that are suggested to us, having every choice in their management. It also means ‘decolonising’ our personalities, which have been socially identified with our disorders and their symptoms by maintaining and reinforcing stigma. Our experiences showed us that nothing motivated us so much to care and love ourselves unconditionally, to have true self-esteem and envision our desires, to support and have compassion for our fellow sufferers, as what we inspired, desired and cultivated within the context of a group with similar experiences with whose members we had gained a deep almost sisterly connection.