F Center was created in 2016 by a group of volunteer psychologists and social workers with the aim to offer psychosocial support to those without access to such services. The organization began by offering free one-to-one sessions to unemployed individuals who, after a short period of time felt empowered to start looking for a job. As F Center was simultaneously receiving requests from elderly family members of the unemployed, they decided to create a psychological support program for the Attica Open Protection Centers for the Elderly (OPCEs). They registered as a non-profit organization in 2017. The program included a presentation to the elderly members regarding psychological issues and the way to overcome them, followed by individual counselling sessions for those that needed it. Since then F Center has reached 300 presentation attendees and 50 individual session recipients in 3 Attica Municipalities. In 2018, with TIMA’s grant for a psychological support program to 30 OPCE’s, F Center educated 600 elderly OPCEs members on psychological–mental health issues through presentations by psychologists and offered individual psychological support sessions to approximately 140 beneficiaries. The F Center team also trained about 80 OPCEs staff on psychological issues in order for them to be able to identify seniors in need of psychological support.
The grant regards the extension of the 2018 psychological support program to another 30 OPCEs in the Attica region. The program will last 12 months and 800 elderly OPCE members will be educated on psychological-mental health issues. Individual counselling sessions will be offered to approximately 180 beneficiaries. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the support will be offered via telephone and lectures accessible online. The F Center team will also continue to train the OPCE staff on psychological issues, thus offering the possibility for continued support beyond this program.