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Role of community in mental health treatment

Updated: Nov 3, 2021

A community plays an important role in bringing together people with similar experiences and enables them to flourish in their journey. However, this angle is often ignored when it comes to mental healthcare. We’ve outlined the benefits of communities and support groups for individuals and caregivers, distilling insights from several research reports.

Shared experiences, a sense of belonging.

Engaging with people who’ve been on similar journeys instil a sense of belonging - especially for a group that is marginalised to a certain extent. Finding a tribe lifts the weight of judgement and fear of sharing as there’s a support system that uplifts and empathises.

Improving confidence

Sharing experiences and learnings nudge members to become more involved in community conversation. As this process unfolds, learning is disseminated and adopted by others in the circle who might find it suitable in their situation. Enabling others to grow instills deep confidence that helps in an individual’s journey too.

Long term recovery.

Studies conducted to assess the usefulness of communities in the process of healing and betterment have shown an improved quality of life alongside decreased re-hospitalisations. These healthy behaviours included: medication compliance, acceptance of illness, better coping skills, greater sense of security and self-esteem, creation of one’s own meaningful structure, and changes in what healthcare consumers wanted from time spent with their family.

Shared identity and sense of worth.

While the focus is on healing oneself, being part of a community encourages its members to think as a group. As they solve problems as a team and work through each other’s progress and well-being, a deep sense of self-worth develops.

These recurring themes point to the effectiveness of going on a journey with a community and that their impacts are profound and long lasting.

“Knight attributes the success of these programs to increased social networks, the role of the facilitator acting as a support for participants, peer-to-peer learning and role modelling, and the creation of grouped meaningful structures.”

Note: We've used the below research reports

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