People all around the world need more mental health support
Communities around the globe are suffering. We can help by providing the mental health support that they need to heal and take on the challenges of their lives.
In many developing countries, there is little access to mental health care even though there is an overwhelming burden of trauma caused by war, poverty, climate crisis and abuse. Women in particular suffer from enormous deficiencies in medical, economic and educational opportunities. Lack of access to resources, gender violence and isolation are endemic in many communities, and studies show that depression is the leading cause of disease among women in the developing world. However, there is virtually no understanding nor acceptability of mental health care for these women.
GPS has been successfully implemented in partnership with The Maya Health Alliance in rural Guatemala, is being introduced into perinatal communities in China, and has been taught in Mexico, Qatar and other countries. In each of these communities, GPS is culturally co-created in conjunction with leaders in the home community to ensure that support groups are culturally relevant, sensitive and accepted. Health workers of diverse disciplines are trained to lead GPS groups, and women talk about the serious challenges of their lives, often for the first time, in an environment of safety.
In my culture we don’t talk about our feelings. Life is hard and we just have to accept it. But I cry most nights, worrying about my family. When I sat in this group, I heard that other women feel the same way and I was so relieved. It made me feel stronger.
There is a lot of stigma around mental health in my culture. Women are expected to be strong for everyone else. GPS is a safe place to share our real feelings and know that we are not alone, that we are not crazy. I have seen the women in my group encourage each other and become more empowered as women and mothers.