Going through depression can feel like the loneliest place in the world, especially when you live in hectic Beijing. For many, they are living alone here fresh off the boat from overseas, without a sufficient support system. Others are going through significant life changes, such as divorce or job loss, without a space to check in with themselves. The stigma around mental health here in China means people often don’t feel like sharing what they are going through with their colleagues, friends or even family and it can be difficult to find a safe space to talk freely about difficult emotions.
In response to this issue, in Oct 2015, CandleX started the English speaking Bi-Weekly Mental Health Support Group in Beijing. The group runs on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month. It is facilitated by CandleX. It gives participants a chance to talk about their experiences in a safe, empowering environment where peers share their struggles and stories.
To date, the peer support group has been going for 1.5 years. At the 1 Year anniversary of the support group, we started a review of this group in Aug 2016, looking at the outcome of the group, participants’ dynamics, and significant cases.
Our purpose is to provide better support
From Nov 2016- Jan 2017, we’ve released 8 infographics reviewing our project. These are based on a 23-page report our research advisor produced. We want to give special thanks to Sally Souraya, an occupational therapist and mental health professional from Lebanon, who generously donated her time and expertise.
We have compiled this Peer Support Group Review to look at the demographics of participants, how the support group has helped them, and to highlight areas in which we can improve.
If you are still reading, we have a few requests:
1. If you are currently going through depression or severe anxiety, it’s tough. We know it. So come join us and let’s do this together. Please see our support group poster above.
2. If you are a counselor, please write to us. We receive requests every now and then asking for information about high quality, affordable services in town. We need to know who you are.
3. If you are media, please help us to spread the word. There are people in the dark who need this kind of support, now! Contact us and we’ll let you know what other depression based projects we are involved in.