HEALTH IN THE MIRROR NPO: a network of support against psychological falls to regain energy and the pleasure to be with others.

At IRCCS - Hospital San Raffaele in Milan, a path to regain the smile and self-confidence, dedicated to women being treated for oncological diseases.

The Association “Health in the Mirror” NPO was created by a group of clinical psychologists and gynecologists of the San Raffaele Hospital and of the University Vita Salute San Raffaele in Milan. Its creators are Valentina Di Mattei psychologist and University researcher and Giorgia Mangili responsible for the Oncology Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics of the San Raffaele.

Its mission is to reconcile the medical excellence with the quality of the care and hospitality of both the sick person is his family. “Health at the mirror” promotes the wellbeing and quality of life of patients with oncological disease at its different stages (diagnosis, treatment, follow-up) through the implementation of psychosocial support interventions.

Much care is dedicated to supporting the patients managing the side effects of treatments (alopecia, skin disorders, emesis, etc.); realizing preventive plans to identify risk factors and / or reduce the severity and complications of diseases in place, through the implementation of information measures, training programs, clinical and research activities

In June 2013, the Association has launched its first project that gives it its name: Health in the Mirror.

Valentina Di Mattei e Giorgia Mangili​

Thanks to the program, patients have rediscovered virtuous group rituals, such as the confidences and the alliance between friends, rediscover together the pleasure of putting on makeup, of getting dressed, of going out, and of all the activities that help regain balance.

After an initial individual psychological interview, the project consists of a series of three group meetings during which the patients are taught techniques and strategies to manage the side effects of treatments affecting their look from an aesthetic point of view of (meetings of make up, of “aesthetic decupage”, of oncological cosmetics). The participation of a team of psychologists to the group allows any emotion or feeling that may emerge during the meetings to be properly handled.

In collaboration with the project “E.A.T. – Sustainable Food“, meetings are organized to propose a new food education and to present the most suitable diet, how to buy food, as well as how to make a correct reading of products

After a first lesson on foods and their nutritional properties, cooking workshops are organized within the hospital under the guidance of an exceptional chef, Dr. Erzegovesi, psychiatrist and nutritionist same time. Recipes are discussed, from to cutting techniques, to the different cooking methods to the ways to actually present the dich and prepare the table. Tempting dishes, colorful and genuine are thus prepared and enjoyed together.

In order for the patients to rely on qualified people within the hospital, training courses are organized for the professionals of beauty sector on how to diagnose skin problems, on specific customized facials treatments, on corrective make-up, on dermo-cosmetics, on hand and foot treatments and massages.

Among the various initiatives, Clio – also known as ClioMakeUp – the famous make up artist and blogger, as a volunteer met a group of patients of the project Health in the Mirror for a make-up dedicated tutorial. Clio has taught the patients how to take care of the face, counteracting the effects of therapies and rediscover their femininity, strongly believing in the healing power of make up. The care of the self, associated with a profound dimension, touches the spirit and identity of each woman.