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3rd Year Report | Mental Health Peer Support Group

Our key project, mental health peer support group has been running for 3 years now. Today’s article, we want to give you an insight of the demographics with the intention to bring awareness and understanding of mental health to greater audiences.

As you might already know, the first support group held its first session on 27th October, 2015 and is held on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month. Since starting the support group, we have had over 112 attendees! The attendees were primarily women (63%) and between 26-36 years old (56%).

It seems that most of our participants wither came from China or North America, followed by Europe. We did have some participants from Africa, South America, and Oceana too!

Are our participants single or in a relationship? Well, it seems that a majority of us were single (65%). Out of the non-Chinese who attended the support groups, 48% lived in China for less than 1 year, 33% lived in China for 1-5 years, and 14% had lived in China for more than ten years!

Now, let’s get into mental health aspects. Keep in mind that the results from the mania and anxiety are based off one year of data, but rest are based off of two years. Out of our attendees, 27% reported mild depression, 47% reported moderate depression, and 14% reported serious depression. 4% of our attendees reported depression along with symptoms of anxiety, depression, or mania. These are self reported statistics, and don’t necessarily have a medical diagnosis.

Mania was reported in 8% of our attendees, although 54% being unsure if they were experiencing mania.

Anxiety was reported in 85% of our total attendees. Almost half (49%) of our attendees have never taken medication. Out of the 51% of attendees who had taken medication, 27% were still currently taking medication.

As we know, life events are often related with our current mental health status. Out of our participants, 31% believed that at least one even or situation related to their mental health situation and 69% report more than one sources of pressure. A whopping 86% of attendees reported relationship issues, comprised of 31% with romantic partnership problems, 30% with family problems, and 23% with friendship problems. Over ¾ of the attendees feel that they do not have adequate support, like having friends or family that understand them or can listen to them. Our participants are a majority expat or new to Beijing, so it might be unsurprising that 27% reported that they were facing major changes in their life, including relocation, graduation, cultural adjustments, or a new job. 25% reported job related issues and 18% felt that their career was stagnant. Other issues that were reported included physical illness, anxiety, and low self-esteem.

Living in Beijing can be daunting. If you aren’t Chinese, you may face the language and cultural barriers. Even if you are Chinese and understand the language, it is difficult to feel misunderstood or like you don’t have an outlet. That is why Candlex is here. Being a resource for people who are going through the same mental anguish that we are going through is what keeps us motivated.

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