World Mental Health Day | October 10th

Steven Tagle

Psychological Support for All

Psychological support is the most unappreciated service of the public health system in our country and elsewhere. As a result, most of the people do not have access to mental health services. In fact, those who get such support are only the ones who can afford to appeal to a private psychologist alongside the existence of a supportive friendly and/or family environment. If we also consider the stigma associated with mental illness or even with the suspicion of a mental disorder, we realize that this is an extremely complex issue.

At SolidarityNow, on the occasion of the World Mental Health Day on October 10th, we want to underline the importance of providing support to people with mental health problems and present how we do this through the Psychological Counseling & Psychotherapy Service, which operates in the organization’s Solidarity Centers in Athens and Thessaloniki.

SolidarityNow proudly has succeeded to offer psychological support through its Solidarity Centers to everyone who asks for it; mental health service is accessible to all without discrimination and is provided pro bono.

More precisely, the Psychological Counseling & Psychotherapy Service in Athens consists of three (3) psychologists who provide individual counseling and psychotherapy; coordinate groups of mutual support of individuals with common cultural characteristics; interconnect people with the other services offered within the Solidarity Center and refer them to other external services if this is considered essential. Referrals to psychiatrists are frequent and the beneficiaries are accompanied by a psychologist and an interpreter, if necessary; in the case of required medication, this is also offered by the service when the beneficiary cannot afford it himself.

Mental health services were included in the operational design of the Solidarity Centers on the basis of the holistic approach of people in need. During the last two years, our psychologists at the SolidarityNow Center in Athens have coordinated many cases conducting hundreds of sessions, accompaniments and referrals. Since November 2016 and until August 2018, our team supported 2,752 people with 5,600 sessions and 628 referrals.

But what is the most important is what takes place beyond numbers – it’s the relationship of trust between therapists and beneficiaries. Their common hope for each beneficiary’s better future has as a guide and partner the team of the Psychological Counseling & Psychotherapy Service of SolidarityNow.

* The Athens Solidarity Center offers a comprehensive set of pro bono services to anyone in need, meaning that the Center is accessible to all people regardless of nationality, religion, ethnic origin, social status, sexual orientation. This wide set includes social, psychological and legal services, employability counseling, accounting support, perinatal care, special therapies (occupational and speech therapy). Priority is given to the most vulnerable population groups: unaccompanied minors, single parent families and pregnant women, victims of sexual abuse and trafficking, members of the LGBT community.

Read below the stories of the #ibelieveinme series which is dedicated to some of those who seeked psychological support at the Athens Solidarity Center.