Depression has been regarded by the UN World Health Organization as one of the three major diseases of the new century. It lines up with cancer and AIDS to devour the people’s physical and mental health. According to the UN World Health Organization, there are currently between 200 and 400 million people in the world suffering from depression. It is estimated that 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 become the top two diseases that affect the huge human lives.
In response to this current widely-watched issue, Shen Wudian, director of psychiatry at Taipei’s Wanfang Hospital, pointed out that the proportion of people with depression in Taiwan is seriously underestimated. Anxiety disorders can easily cause depression, and 58% of anxiety patients can transmit into depression, and is now considered to be one of the most serious causes of stress or disability in all diseases. According to statistics, the prevalence rate of depression in Taiwan is about 7.3%. In other words, about 1.5 million people in Taiwan suffer from depression at present. This shows that the problem of depression is very serious.
However, treatment of depression and other mental illness is not included in health insurance in Taiwan. A single therapy session can cost about 2500-3000 NTD. This is where we, W.A.R.M. (Women Anonymous Reconnecting Mentally), comes in. W.A.R.M is a weekly Sunday meeting where women with similar states of mental health can come and share their stories, talk about what they are going through.
W.A.R.M. is the first support group in Taiwan to support women with these mental issues, which are so stigmatized by society. The weekly Sunday W.A.R.M. meetings are based in Taipei, we are not “classes”, “sessions” or “group therapy”, also in no way intended to be viewed as providing any form of “professional treatment” to fix people. The participants can choose to remain anonymous and there will be no formal sign up. The W.A.R.M. meetings style are roughly based on the AA meeting format – although without any steps, agenda or programs. W.A.R.M. meetings are just a safe platform for women who are struggling in life to share and connect with each other, without any pressure, judgement or expectations. We are providing a safe space for women to talk and listen to their individual predicaments. We are building a support network in order to encourage and empower women by having these weekly group meetings.
Within our growing support network, we see how women unite and empower each other. As women, we have the guts to be vulnerable, and by being vulnerable, exchanging life experiences, we bond over the similar hardships that we went through. We welcome all ladies with any background to join our support network. You are not alone.