What is peer support?
Peer support means there are no formal counsellors or mental health professionals involved. Everyone at the group is there to support and help each other so your input to both share your story and listen and support others sharing theirs is essential. Listening to others tell their stories helps to reinforce to people that they are not alone in the feelings they are experiencing. It is very powerful for someone to be able to share their story in an atmosphere of trust and understanding without the fear of being judged or ridiculed.
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 meet have been directly affected by a wide range of mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, bipolar, phobias and obsessive compulsive disorder amongst others. 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?
The Time Out website and Zoom meeting link is kept running by volunteers who attend the group themselves. They are not there to counsel or provide solutions or to be the facilitator of the group. It's important to note that everyone who comes along has the shared responsibility of listening and joining in with words of comfort and support to each other, so please join in with this and don't just leave it to others. No one should feel pressured to be the 'leader' of our group - we are mutually supportive.
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 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.
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 joined you are always welcome back.
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 happens at a meeting?
For both online and in person meetings: Depending on the numbers we may break into smaller groups to ensure everyone gets a chance to speak. A regular attender should have a copy of the Zoom code to allow breakout rooms. We normally take it in turns to share but 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. Remember everyone deserves equal time so take note of how long you are speaking for so as not to leave others without time to share.
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, to make it easier to time how long each person has to speak.
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. It's important for everyone's security and peace of mind that you are sharing as well as listening.
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 it's preferable for people to stay until the end in order to be respectful and cause minimal disruption.