Visible Hands Collaborative helps Pittsburghers overcome mental health challenges in a warm, welcoming environment

In Pittsburgh, the Visible Hands Collaborative serves as a first line of defense in mental health support.

The organization uses Integrative Community Therapy (ICT) to ease mental healthcare issues. ICT was born in a “favela” or shanty town in Brazil. It’s made for communities that are under great stress. As such, it’s an accessible, effective method that doesn’t rely on referrals, doctors, insurance, or wait lists, and offers immediate, no-cost access to any person needing mental health support.

With ICT, people come together in a community to talk and share their thoughts and feelings. This interaction helps people understand and deal with life’s daily challenges by discussing them with others in a supportive environment.

The goal is to promote healing, understanding, and well-being through group discussions and shared experiences that are guided by skilled moderators.

Each ICT session includes five parts: Welcoming, voting on the session’s topics, framing the chosen topic individually and as a group, sharing (without giving advice), and a closing ritual, such as prayer.

The value of this circular sharing is different than treatment that’s imparted from the top down by an “authority.” Instead, participants come together as equals, each of whom has a broad and diverse range of knowledge and experiences. Participants own their stories and knowledge and, as a result, feel more capable of facing their problems and rebuilding and reintegrating their broken networks.

Visit the VHC website to learn more about the organization and its methods. If you’re interested in joining a Tuesday night Zoom session, visit the website and click on “Contact” at the top of the landing page. Fill out the form. In the “How can we help or work together?” section, include a message that you would like to receive a link for the Tuesday night demonstration ICTs.

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