How I stumbled into support, and hope to pass it on

Thanks for sharing your experience. I have been working in the disbality and handicap field for 25 years and was regularly confronted with the question of social rehabilitation of people with mental illness. So, I am convinced of the great importance of sharing experiences between people who are often living in a great solitude and unable to speak about their disease with other people.

In France, since 2005, we have the “Groupes d’entraide mutuelle” (GEM), what can be translated by “Mutual help groups”, partly inspired by american and british models (like the Fountain House club in New-York and the Mosaic Club House in London).

The GEM are non profit organizations, with public funding. Their goal is to fight solitude and social exclusion of people with mental disease or cognitive disability.

A GEM is run by ill people themselves, and is independant from hospital or other medical institutions. It offers different activities and opportunity to share experiences, and promotes the social participation of its members.

End of 2016, France was already counting 430 GEM, what emphasises the importance of mutual support, apart from the medical system.

Good luck to Campfire ! Health needs help…