A peer support group is providing a safe space for Prestonians living with depression, anxiety or similar distress.Advertisement
PeerTalk in Preston is part of a UK network of volunteer-facilitated peer support group meetings. While not classed as a treatment or therapy, PeerTalk meetings offer support with no waiting lists and no referrals needed.
Two trained volunteers facilitate the meetings, and those attending can offload and be heard, while sharing their advice and opinions with each other.
One attendee has told Blog Preston of the positive impact PeerTalk has had on their life.
They said: “I’ve had a really rough time in the last two years. A personal relationship ended badly and I lost a lot of money as a result. I also had a difficult situation at work and ultimately I lost my job. At my lowest, I felt utterly worthless and I attempted to end my life.
“Attending the group means I can share my story and offer advice to the other peers. The greatest advantage of the group is to know you are not alone; there are other people who truly understand what it’s like to feel so low and worthless and have repetitive negative and damaging thoughts.
“No one will tell you to ‘snap out of it’ or ‘get over it’ or that ‘it’s all in your head’ – all things that people in my life have told me to ‘help’ me. I can assure you, ‘help’ like this just makes the problem worse.
“Peer Talk offers a sanctuary of understanding from the judgement of the outside world and it really is powerful to share experiences and strategies with others who struggle with their mental health.”
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PeerTalk launched in March 2017. The first meetings were held in Bradford, followed quickly by Preston.
These days there are two PeerTalk groups in Preston:
For more information about how it works, visit the PeerTalk support groups page and scroll down to Preston.
You can turn up to any session but if you’d like to find out more first, you can call 07719 562 617 or contact the team via Facebook.
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Have you attended a PeerTalk meeting? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below.