A Women’s Mental Health Support Group: Going Beyond and Changing the Society for The Better

Depression has been regarded by the UN World Health Organization as the three major diseases of the new century. According to the UN World Health Organization, there are at least about 50 million people with depression in Asia and their numbers are on the rise. By 2020, depression and heart disease will have become the top two diseases that affect human lives. Currently, there are about 2 million people suffering from depression in Taiwan, and 97% of them don’t reach out for help.

Now WARM (Women Anonymous Reconnecting Mentally) is trying to do something about it. WARM (Women Anonymous Reconnecting Mentally) is a women’s mental health support group in Taipei. Since December, 2017, WARM has been supporting women’s mental health, and has become a necessary part of their members’ lives. WARM IS THE FIRST AND ONLY mental health support group in Taiwan. WARM has been improving and inspiring women’s lives for the better since December, 2017.

Mental illness is extremely stigmatized in Taiwan. Treatments of depression in Taiwanese clinics are poorly covered by health insurance, it only covers about 2% to 4% of the expenses. On top of that, a single therapy session can cost about 100-120 USD.

In WARM, women meet up every Sunday. WARM provides women in Taiwan a safe platform to discuss anything that is plaguing their mental health. Generally speaking, in Taiwan, a therapy session is 50 minutes a week, a doctor’s visit is about 10-20 minutes a week, once we leave the clinics, we are all on our own again. WARM is trying to break that cycle and create a community that offers support 24/7. WARM further posts encouraging posts in their Facebook group and interactive questions or weekly challenges, such as: “look into the mirror and say ‘I accept you’ for three times, comment below and get a chance on this exclusive WARM gift”. WARM makes sure that they incentivize women every single day without failing.

In WARM, women are empowered by listening and sharing. Topics which were previously considered “unspeakable” or “weak”, or something to “be ashamed of” for women are now being spoken and discussed. Sensitive topics such as rape, abortion, body image and abuse are boldly discussed in WARM. They have given their members a voice and a place to talk about their traumas. More importantly, WARM is a place for women to find closure, support and healing. WARM exemplifies that mental health is as important as physical health, no one chooses to be sick voluntarily.

Recently WARM has been featured in the Taiwan Observer, Taiwan News, Taipei Times, and ICRT. This shows how much society needs them and the important jobs they are doing. They are not a group therapy but a support group. They do not offer professional treatment to “fix” people, but guide their members to seek professional help outside of the group when necessary. The WARM meeting style is based on the AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) format, providing a safe platform for women to share and encourage each other. WARM has a safe and effective platform for women with mental health related issues. It has been proven by past meetings that WARM’s structure is more than helpful to their members.

WARM holds their weekly meetings at MOWES, a community space run by and for women. Besides their weekly Sunday meetings, they have various events dedicated to mental health at different venues with a wide selection of partners to collaborate with. WARM is the true example of what happens when people unite, speak up and raise their voice for themselves. WARM believes: together, we can fight anything, even the profound stigma of mental illness. WARM is trying their best to not just be a support group, but a cause for de-stigmatizing mental health and raising awareness about mental health. WARM’s ultimate goal is that hopefully, WARM won’t need to exist one day. When that day comes, hopefully, we can walk up to a stranger, and say “Hey, I don’t know you, but I support you.”.

This is the link to WARM’s Facebook group (ladies only): https://www.facebook.com/groups/323198761492476/

The link to WARM’s Facebook page (for the public) : https://m.facebook.com/warmoftheday

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