The ASB protection team strengthens its relationship with the community by explaining with helpful images and providing myth debunking leaflets.
The ASB protection’s team strengthens it’s relationship with the community. The concept that visual support can alleviate quite common prejudices on mental health services with the help of encouraging posters with simple “myth and truths” quotes about the offered service has become reality and will be shared on a regular basis with the beneficiaries.
From her container (see pic), Maria Nousia, psychologist at ASB, explained to us how a concept can become reality and how simple messages can bridge communication gaps.
Maria explains that “an image, and especially the LET’S TALK images that represent the relation between two people in a protective and safe way can convey a message in an easier way than a long speech.
Also, an image can enhance the space where the sessions are held and give it some character. As an eye-catcher, it moreover gives a feeling about the way a service works.
The “MYTH AND TRUTH” leaflet completes the “LET’S TALK” poster because it informs about the role of the psychologist. Simple messages can facilitate the beneficiary to overcome biases and prejudices and help him to take the step to consult a mental health specialist. The type of information we decided to disseminate, driven by the initiative of Stella Sakonidou (Senior Protection Focal point) and Katerina Oroilidou (psychologist), allows beneficiaries to overcome stereotypes and prejudices in an attempt to overcome initial fears, remove obstacles and build a trust relationship based on care. The Myth and Truth leaflet transfers in a simple way an assumption or question a citizen might have on psychological care and gives an answer, e.g.: Myth: “Anyone going to the psychologist is crazy! Truth: “Every person who needs help can go to the psychologist in order to deal with difficulties at a certain moment of this life”.
Maria adds that when someone approaches the psychologist, they are asked if they would like to have some information on the nature of the service. The answers are usually positive and the distribution before or after the sessions of the leaflet in the language of the beneficiary has the purpose to facilitate the access to the psychologist. This action started in May and will be ongoing.While ASB offers mental health services at a first level, there is an excellent cooperation with the public Center of Mental Health of Ioannina (KYI: Kentro Ygeias Ioanninon) that can follow-up with psychiatric help when needed.
“We are on an optimal level of cooperation, says Maria Nousia. We have a multidisciplinary approach I would say. If needed and based on case assessment, we cooperate through phone communication with the psychiatrist of the Center and both do the follow-up. No patient is left without advice or a choice on his therapy. As for the statistics, almost a third of the beneficiaries we follow need psychiatric help together with psychological support. The public Center of Mental Health of Ioannina is an important partner because it promotes the integration of the refugees in the Greek health frame, in this case mental health”.
Last but not least and very good news is that for children 9 to 16 years old suffering of developmental disabilities (psycho-motoric diseases, autism, Asperger and other) there is a positive will from the public actor KDAP (Creative occupation Center for children) to provide recreational activities for these children and thereby contribute towards their insertion in the Greek context.
Notwithstanding COVID-19 throws a wrench in the works, one can indeed notice that ASB Greece assumes a mediation role in liaising with the Greek public actors towards the further integration of the host communities in the Greek health context. As a mirror effect, we can equally recognize the fact that many public actors are willing to contribute towards the same goal.