One of the deliverables of the REBAHS project (Reducing Economic Barriers to Accessing Health Services in Lebanon) is setting up community support groups of various topics.
A community support group brings people together who have gone through or are going through a similar experience. A support group is different than the support provided by family and friends as it includes people who have firsthand experience and are able to understand more the emotional needs and various forms of support.
People in those groups feel less lonely when they see they are not the only ones going through a certain situation; they feel less isolated and judged.
A community support group is a platform for these people with a common mishap share experiences, coping strategies and may help in developing the skills of one another. It empowers the participants by giving them a sense of community. It also helps in decreasing distress, symptoms of anxiety and/or depression and fatigue.
Some community support groups also go on to raise awareness among other community members on the common topic.
The case managers at FPS have already set up the following community support groups among both Lebanese and Refugee community:
- People going through grief after the loss of a closed someone
- Caregivers of patients diagnosed with psychosis
- People diagnosed with depression
- Caregivers of people who have a disability
- Caregivers of children diagnosed with thalassemia
- People diagnosed with a substance use disorder
Participants in these community support groups have demonstrated a decrease in distress and an elevated mood at the end of the sessions when compared to an assessment done at the beginning of the sessions. They have also expressed high satisfaction, and some groups are still meeting even after the activity ended.