Caritas Malta provides a framework and support to Self-help Groups. This includes the provision of group rooms, reception for referrals, training and supervision when required. The support groups can also make use of other internal services.

THE SUPPORT GROUPS (Tel: 2590 6600):
Gamblers Anonymous (G.A.) and GamAnon
Ro-Se (Widowed and Separated persons)
YSSG – Young Separated Support Group
Caritas Malta Epilepsy Association
Thursday Club (mental health aftercare)
Huntington’s Chorea Support Group 
Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A) and Al Anon
Emotions Anonymous (EA)

 


Gamblers Anonymous (GA) and GamAnon

Gamblers Anonymous (GA) is a meeting of compulsive gamblers who are willing to treat their condition and stay away from the world of gambling.

Gambling very often leads to difficulties within the family, at the place of work, with friends, with the law and in financial matters. Family members of compulsive gamblers find themselves immersed in these difficulties. Yet their support is essential to keep a gambler away from this corrosive practice.

Family members of gamblers meet separately in the GamAnon group to share experiences and explore ways of being supportive to gamblers who have made the decision to stop gambling.

Separate GA and GamAnon meetings are held

On: Mondays
From: 6.30 p.m. to 8.00 p.m.
At: Caritas Malta, 5 Triq l-Iljun, Floriana.

 


Ro-Se (Widowed and Separated persons)
Ro-Se is a support group within Caritas Malta for the widowed and separated of both sexes. The founder of this group, Matilde Balzan, insisted on having these two groups together because they both have experienced the loss of a partner, albeit in a different way. Although their behavior, emotions, problems, needs and social status differ, none other than the widowed can empathise and help to mitigate the stigma that the separated still face in society.

The group sets out to:

  • offer support to those living in a similar situation
  • help them get to know and accept their new role in the family and in society
  • help them discover their new identity and their inner strengths
  • act as a pressure group to amend any Church/State laws and regulations that do not meet the needs of the widowed and/or separated
  • offer counselling
  • organize social, educational and cultural activities

Those wishing to join the group can call any Friday at 6.00 pm at Caritas Malta, 5 Triq l-Iljun, Floriana.

 

Origins
Matilde Balzan founded the Ro-Se Group after an initial meeting was held on the 4th July 1997. During that meeting, which was also attended by Caritas Malta Director Mgr. Victor Grech, the numerous audience brought forward the problems and needs faced by the widowed and separated.

These included concerns that:

  • For income tax purposes, widows/widowers were considered as single
  • Widow’s pension was withheld on re-marriage
  • The Family Court was not yet functioning
  • Child care centres were too expensive.
  • There was a lack of state funded child care centres.
  • There was a need for social housing for separated persons.

These concerns and more were addressed at a seminar on the 24th April 1998, entitled “Posti fis-Socjetà” (My Place in Society) with the participation of members from the psychological, social, spiritual and political fields. As a result of that seminar, a number of proposals were sent to the authorities, and some of them were accepted, including that widows and widowers are no longer considered as single persons for income tax purposes and that on remarriage a widow does not lose her pension for the first five years. The number of state-run child care centres have also increased.

In the initial meetings of the Ro-Se group, great emphasis was made on the issue of grief. As bereavement for the widowed and the separated is a different issue, the group was separated for therapy sessions by professionals. Since that experience, newcomers to to the group are given an individual appointment with Caritas Malta counsellors.

Throughout the years, the number of young separated persons kept increasing, and the need was felt to organize a sub group for them so that their needs could be more specifically addressed.

 


YSSG (Young Separated Suppot Group)

The Caritas Malta YSSG Group for Young Separated Persons offers comfort, relief and direction to persons who have gone through a process of marital separation, or are going through it. The Group seeks to empower members to face their personal issues and challenges with greater courage and determination, and to enable them to get on with their lives more at peace with themselves.

During meetings, members address common matters that influence them as separated people, also covering parenting and family issues, and relationships with in-laws and families-of-origin.

Speakers from different professions are invited to discuss with members matters of topical interest to explore different ways of looking at particular situations, leading to better informed and thought-out decisions. This helps to prevent impulsive decisions taken out of anger, through inappropriate advice from people who may be well-meaning, or as a result of the negative feelings that people tend to go through on separating from their spouse.

Set up in 1999 and led by Ms Anna Micallef until 2010, the Group offers a certain element of healing – an on-going process through the unfamiliar paths opened by separation. Within the Group members find that they can still be surrounded by love, care and respect and that meeting other people who are facing similar situations helps them relieve feelings of loneliness.

In proactive mode, the Group engages in advocacy whereby the collective experience of the members acts as a springboard for recommendations to change legislation or current practices made to the relevant authorities, including the Government, the Commissioner for Children, the Family Court and the Church Tribunal.

Those wishing to start attending this support group must first call on the Caritas helpline (2590 6600) and speak to a counsellor who will guide them accordingly.

Facilitator: Anna Micallef.

 


Caritas Malta Epilepsy Association

www.caritasmalta.org/epilepsy

The Association is for persons with Epilepsy and their families. It is estimated that there are more than 3,000 persons with epilepsy in the Maltese Islands . The Caritas Malta Epilepsy Association (CMEA) was set up by voluntary workers in 1996 and now lists almost 300 members. It aims to promote education and local awareness about epilepsy, especially because of the social stigma suffered by people with this condition, particularly in employment. The CMEA aims at improving health care services, treatment and social acceptance of epilepsy, as a serious yet treatable brain disorder.

Raising public and professional awareness and dispelling myths about epilepsy is one of the Association’s key objectives. Over the past years its promotional and educational campaign on the various aspects of epilepsy, included talks on television and radio, lectures at schools and parishes, articles in the local papers, a production of a video/DVD on epilepsy in Maltese and distribution of flyers translated into Maltese.  The Association has produced an information pack on epilepsy and how to assit persons who show symptoms of this condition.  The pack is being made available to school teachers in scholastic year 2011/2

CMEA works closely in Malta with the Department of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics at the University of Malta and the Maltese Chapter of the International League Against Epilepsy, and The Epilepsy Society of Malta which is the professional organization.

Meetings : Every two months (on the second Friday of the particular month)

Venue:  Caritas Malta, 5 Triq l-Iljun, Floriana.

 


Thursday Club (mental health aftercare)

The aim of this group is to help the persons seeking help to reintegrate in society. The activities include the teaching of social skills, and social activities.

Meetings: Every Thursday

Time: 5.30 p.m.

Venue:  Caritas Malta, 5 Triq l-Iljun, Floriana.

 


Huntington’s Chorea Support Group 

A Self-support Group set up to help the families and friends of HD sufferers.

Venue: Caritas Malta, 5 Triq l-Iljun, Floriana.

 

ALSO  HOSTED AT CARITAS MALTA:

Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A) and Al Anon

Moderate alcohol use is normal but alcohol abuse and eventual dependence is a serious problem. Too much alcohol affects the central nervous system and eventually the brain. It affects perception, thinking, coordination and mood; it impairs judgement, reduces inhibition and increases aggression. Those who abuse alcohol are more likely than others to engage in high risk, thoughtless or violent behaviour.

Alcohol abusers are not necessarily addicted to alcohol but develop problems as a result of their alcohol intake. They are normally referred to as “problem drinkers” or “normal alcoholics”. Many people who abuse alcohol eventually become alcohol dependent.

Warning signs would include:-

  • social, financial, legal, work or health problems
  • trying unsuccessfully to cut down one’s drinking
  • drinking alone
  • morning drinking
  • drinking prior to social events
  • drinking to cope with problems

Alcohol dependence, on the other hand, is an illness that affects the individual in four distinct aspects:

  • Physically
  • Mentally
  • Emotionally
  • Spiritually

The main features of alcohol dependence are:

  • Withdrawal symptoms such as sweating and hand tremors
  • Inability to abstain from having the first drink
  • Loss of control, i.e. inability to stop once started
  • Tolerance, more and more alcohol is needed to produce the desired effect.

Once alcohol dependence has been diagnosed, the only known remedy for recovery is total abstinence. Recognising and accepting that an alcohol problem exists is the first crucial step towards solving the problem. If one has an alcohol problem, it is important to keep the following in mind:

  • alcoholism is an illness and NOT a normal weakness,
  • blaming yourself or others and feeling ashamed are all stumbling blocks to recovery ,
  • you are not alone – many, many persons suffer from the illness of alcoholism and are in recovery,

Don’t push away the messengers! The earlier the treatment, the more successful it is likely to be. Caritas Malta offers professional guidance and support to its clients and their families who may have alcohol abusers/dependents apart from their drug problem.

Help can be sought at: –

Caritas Malta

Family Services

82 Capuchins Street, Floriana.

Tel. 2123 7935 , 2123 8090

Caritas also offers its premises to a self-help group of AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) who hold a weekly Support Group every Tuesday at 6.00 p.m. at:

Caritas Malta Head Office

5 Triq l-Iljun, Floriana.

 

AA Helpline is: 2123 9264

Al-Anon (for Families of Alcoholics) can be reached on 2733 5786 or 2137 0888.

 


Emotions Anonymous (EA) – Mob: 7941 2338

Emotions Anonymous brings together people who are working towards recovery from emotional difficulties. EA members come from many walks of life and are of diverse ages, economic status, social and educational backgrounds. The only requirement for membership is a desire to become well emotionally. There are no fees whatsoever.

The EA programme has been known to work in the lives of many who suffer from problems as diverse as depression, anger, broken or strained relationships, grief, anxiety, low self-esteem, panic, abnormal fears, resentment, jealousy, guilt, despair, fatigue, tension, boredom, loneliness, withdrawal, obsessive and negative thinking, worry, compulsive behaviour and a variety of other emotional issues.

EA provides a warm and accepting group setting in which to share experiences without fear of criticism. Through weekly support meetings on Mondays, members discover they are not alone in their struggles. EA is not a medical or psychiatric service, nor does it provide personal or family counselling. Leadership of group meetings rotates and is non-professional. The leader’s function is simply to conduct the meeting, not to serve as an authority. Meetings are structured to assist individuals who want to achieve and maintain emotional health by understanding and utilizing the Twelve Steps of Emotions Anonymous in their daily lives.

As an anonymous programme, EA respects the confidentiality of its members at all times.

The Emotions Anonymous meet every Monday at 6.00 p.m. at

Caritas Malta, 5 Triq l-Iljun, Floriana.

Emotions Anonymous can be reached at 7941 2338.

 

 For more information about Caritas Malta Support Groups you may contact the Counselling and Social Work Unit on tel no. 2590 6600