424 Mental Health
➤ No two people
have exactly the
same life experiences.
There is always more
to understand about
Building a helping relationship
Even when two people know each other well, helping
relationships develop slowly, because people usually hesitate
to share their problems. It takes time to get over these
worries and begin to trust one another. Here are some
ways to build trust between people or members of a group:
• Try to be open to hearing everything another person
says, without judging it.
• Try to understand how the other person feels. If you
have had a similar experience, think about how you felt.
But avoid seeing someone else’s experience as exactly
like your own. If you do not understand her, do not
pretend that you do.
• Do not tell another person what to do. You can
help her understand how the pressures of her family,
community, and work responsibilities affect her feelings,
but she must make her own decisions.
• Never think of a woman as beyond help.
• Respect the woman’s privacy. Never tell others what
she has told you unless it is necessary to protect her life.
Always tell her if you plan to speak with someone else
for her protection.
Starting a support group
1. Find 2 or more women who want to start a group.
2. Plan when and where to meet. It helps to find a quiet place, such as a school,
health post, cooperative, or place of worship. Or you can plan to talk while
doing your daily work.
3. At the first meeting, discuss
what you hope to
accomplish. If you are in
a group, decide how
the group will be led
and whether new
members can join
Although the person who began the group will probably need to take
the lead at the first meetings, she should not make decisions for the group.
Her job is to make sure everyone has a chance to talk and to bring the
discussion back to the main point if it wanders off. After the first few
meetings members may want to take turns leading the group. Having more
than one leader can also help shy women lead.
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012