What is peer support and how can it help?
Do I have to have a formally diagnosed mental health condition to come along?
Time Out was originally set up to help depression sufferers connect with each other however nowadays most who attend have been directly affected by a wide range of mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, bipolar, phobias and obsessive compulsive disorder amongst others. You don’t have to have been formally diagnosed with a mental health condition to attend though. If you are struggling with symptoms such as isolation, low mood, negative thoughts, work or relationship problems, it’s likely you will find others who have similar stories to your own to share.
Who runs the meetings?
Time Out is run by volunteers who attend the group themselves. They are not there to counsel or provide solutions. Whilst they may 'lead' the discussion by sharing first to get the ball rolling; or by ensuring everyone has time to speak; or by asking follow up questions, we ask you to be mindful that they are also in need of your support and contribution. Without these few dedicated volunteers to take the lead the group would not exist for others like yourself so please help them by joining in with providing advice and encouragement to everyone at the group.
What sort of people come to the meetings?
Anyone who has or is experiencing difficulties in their life or with their mental health and is struggling to cope. Some people may not have anyone they can talk to or they may be hesitant about burdening friends and family. There is a varied age range from young students to senior citizens.
What is the minimum age for attending a meeting?
Do I need to book?
No. You don't need to book or let anyone know you are coming. Just check the website on the day you are planning to attend to see if there have been any changes to the in person/online schedule due to covid. We ask that you arrive on time to both types of meetings so as not to cause disruption.
Do I have to come every week or for a set amount of weeks?
No. You can come along as often or as little as you need. Even if it has been some months since you last attended you are always welcome back when you need.
How much does it cost?
At in person meetings we ask for a donation of £2 to help towards the cost of the room hire. Online meetings are free.
What should I do when I arrive at an in person meeting?
Melisa House will be locked for security - please use the intercom to select Lifelink and you will be buzzed in. Our meetings are on the first floor, the Lifelink receptionist will direct you to our room. In our room please put your name on the sign in sheet sign for emergency evacuation reasons. There will be a piggy bank to place your donation in. We normally give some time at the start for everyone to arrive before formally starting the meeting. Tea and Coffee is available but please bring your own cup to use.
What happens at a meeting?
For both online and in person meetings: Depending on the numbers in attendance we normally break into smaller groups of about 5-6 people so there is time for everyone to get a chance to speak. Normally a regular attendee will 'break the ice' by sharing their story first. Thereafter everyone else can take turns to share, please be mindful that the time that each person gets to share their story must be fairly evenly divided. Please feel free to comment, share thoughts or advice or ask follow up questions to each other. We just ask everyone to be aware of being sensitive and respectful to each other at all times.
Do I need to use video and headphones at the online meetings?
Video must be used throughout for the security and peace of mind of the whole group. There should be no one else in the room with you when you are on the meeting to maintain privacy for everyone. If there are others in your vicinity please ensure you are using headphones.
How many people will be at the meeting?
This varies from week-to-week but typically there are around 15 people at a meeting.
Can I bring someone with me for support?
Yes, but please make everyone aware if your supporter is there to share or not so that so we can be sure everyone gets equal time.
Do I have to speak or can I just sit and listen?
There is absolutely no pressure to talk in the first week but we hope that once you have listened to others share their stories you will be encouraged to share your own.
Can I leave at any time during the meeting if I am uncomfortable?
If you are uncomfortable and don’t feel you can stay any longer then of course you can leave. In general though we ask for people to stay until the end in order to be respectful and cause minimal disruption.