Time Out Scotland is peer support group for people with mental ill health. We are a supportive community which helps people cope by talking to others who have had, or are currently experiencing, mental ill health. Time Out Scotland is open to all and provides a safe place to talk freely in a confidential, respectful and non-judgemental environment.
By the very nature of peer support there are no formally trained mental health practitioners present and the group is not intended to replace professional interventions.
Time Out Scotland is run by a voluntary committee, most of whom have attended the group for a number of years.
Time Out Scotland is an independent charity, registered in 1993. It began with the intention of providing help and support through offering weekly self-help meetings for people with depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder.
When the group started there was still a lot of stigma associated with mental ill health. The subject was not discussed as freely as it is today so it was normal for sufferers of depression and anxiety to hide what they were going through and feel there was no support out there for them. Things have moved forward in this respect but there is still a way to go.
Many people experiencing mental ill health don’t have anyone they can talk to in their life or they may be hesitant about burdening friends and family. Time Out Scotland believes no one should go through this themselves and so our original aim is still ongoing – to promote understanding around the very common condition of anxiety and depression and offer people a safe and supportive place to come share their experience.
Time Out Scotland is a well established charity which has survived through the dedication and commitment of its volunteer management committee. The committee members have changed over the years but the fundamental ethic to keep ourselves available to anyone who needs us endures.
Time Out Scotland meetings are held 50 weeks of the year. We are open to anyone age 16+ (we cannot accept younger due to child protection regulations). There are typically around 15 people at every meeting. Some people come along for a certain period of time while they are struggling. Many people return to meetings for multiple separate periods whenever they feel they are going through a bad patch and need the support of the group. The important thing is that Time Out Scotland is there for people to come along whenever they need, for as long as they need.
We have a wide rage of mental health conditions which people talk about at group. Mental ill health can be something that a person experiences at varying levels for many years of their life or it can affect someone for a short period. Diagnosis’ can include anything from anxiety, depression, bipolar, agoraphobia and eating disorders along with those suffering from mental distress having suicidal thoughts or self-harming.
Whilst some people are predisposed to mental ill health through their genes many become ill as a result of difficult life experiences such as abuse, neglect, trauma, bereavement, physical illness or disability, addictions, loneliness and isolation or stresses from home or at work. Often this results in people having very negative thoughts and behaviours, becoming more withdrawn, poorer self esteem and confidence, problems focusing, panic attacks and worsening physical health.
Time Out Scotland has survived due to the dedication of it’s volunteer members, most of whom have lived experience of poor mental health and know from experience the value talking therapies have to recovery.
The main issues currently being considered by the committee are:
- Advertising and promoting Time Out Scotland to reach as many people in the Greater Glasgow area who may benefit from coming along to our group.
- The premises we use at the GCVS Albany Centre. The format of our meetings is to break into small groups of around 5 people led by a facilitator who ensures everyone has a chance to talk in the time we have. The room we use is not very big and so can get a bit noisy when there are multiple groups. A solution to this would be renting a larger room.
- Training for our volunteer facilitators. To help them build their skills in leading group discussion to make sure everyone is getting the best out of the groups.
All of the above costs money. At present our only constant source of income is the voluntary donations of £1.50 (unemployed) and £2 (employed) that we ask from those attending the weekly meeting. This income is normally sufficient to cover the rental costs of our room (our most important expense) but only leaves a very small surplus. Our group therefore relies heavily on other sources of funding to give us the potential to grow and develop.
Our Guiding Principles
- We are a listening ear to each individual’s problems.
- We provide empathy and sympathy when required.
- We are understanding of an individual’s predicament whatever that may be.
- What is said remains confidential at all times.
- We are here to support individuals in their choice of recovery – we don’t criticise individuals for the choices they make.
- We share experiences when this is beneficial.
- Individuals are free to express whatever emotion they feel at the time.
- The primary purpose of group meetings is to assist individuals to cope with the challenges they are experiencing.
- There is no criticism in Time Out of anyone’s beliefs, politics, race, creed or sexuality – we are a caring group.