Peer Talk is a group designed for people suffering with depression or anxiety to be able to support each other by talking about their feelings.
The purpose of the support groups is to allow people who are going through similar struggles to be able to discuss what is on their mind with people who understand and can relate to how they might be feeling.
Rosa Trelfa, Director of Operations for Peer Talk, explains the dynamics of the group meetings:
“Essentially what happens at our group meetings is people who are facing depression, anxiety or any form of emotional distress come together to share, to offload and to support each other. The main thing about our groups is we don’t have any experts there or clinicians or mental health professionals. We have two trained volunteer facilitators but they don’t give advice or their opinion, they keep the meeting going and flowing.”
The Peer Talk meetings allow its attendees to vent about what is troubling them whilst being surrounded by people that understand and can offer advice on what has helped them:
“The support comes from the people who come to the group, so there are lots of experts by experience and there is nobody there telling you how you should live your life and what you should do. Very often the people that come to our group, they know what they should be doing and they’re sick and tired of being told what to do,
“Just being able to offload and to say ‘I have had a good week’ or ‘I have had a rubbish week’ with others that understand because they’re experiencing it themselves, you can’t replace that. The power dynamic that you might get in a professional setting just isn’t there in our setting because it’s peer-to-peer support and that is its strength.”
In Preston, Peer talk has a daytime group which is already running on a Thursday morning at the Intact Centre in Ingol. The evening group is restarting on 24th September.
Rosa believes that being in lockdown has had a detrimental effect on some people’s mental health which is something regularly being discussed at the Peer Talk meetings:
“Without a doubt, we are hearing this across all of our peer support groups that have re-opened in the past few weeks. It has been a very stressful and isolating time, not universally because for a few it has been a relief not to go out and have actually helped their anxiety but generally, people have been stressed and more anxious because of the isolation. There has been frustration at not being able to access services and forms of support, it has completely wrecked peoples way of being across the board.”
For any more information about Peer Talk, you can check out their website here or you can visit their Facebook page here. If you have any queries, you can call / text / WhatsApp the PeerTalk phone on 07719 562 617 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.