Peer Talk is a peer to peer support group for people with depression or anxiety that is continuing to offer a helping hand to Preston residents.
Because Peer Talk is a support group, they are still allowed to meet face to face in a Covid secure setting despite the lastest lockdown.
Rosa Trelfa, Director of Operations at Peer Talk, is thankful that support groups are an exception to the latest guidelines so that they can still help anyone who may be struggling:
“We are still meeting during the lockdown face to face, as soon as the announcement was made I was checking the government guidelines. We are still permitted to meet as a support group, they are very few exceptions to the restrictions but support groups are one. So we can meet with a maximum attendance of up to 15 people face to face in a Covid secure setting.”
Despite this, the group numbers have gone down but Rosa is hopeful that the message gets out there that they are okay to attend:
“Our numbers coming to the group this time has been affected because people our perhaps more fearful than they were before. That is understandable because of what they are hearing, on the other hand, the government have learned from the very first lockdown that people’s mental health matters.
“So the option to attend a support group is still okay even in these serious circumstances but I’m not sure how much that message is getting through to people out there. We are having few people coming to the support groups however those that do come are so appreciative of the space to offload and to be supported.
“We are Covid secure, we are following all the measures and people are very respectful of those measures, we have had no problems at all with people wearing face coverings or remaining socially distanced.”
Peer Talk made the decision to not take any of their sesssions online and meet virtually, Rosa explains why she belivies virtually meetings would not work for the support group:
“I did lots of research around that, talking to people from around the country who have transferred their support groups to online groups. We decided not to do that for a number of reasons, Zoom is brilliant for work or social meetings but our groups are for support and sometimes we meet distress in the group,
“The problem is dealing with distress remotely is really difficult and that worries me, that we wouldn’t be able to deal with it appropriately, our facilitators’ aren’t trained to do that. We decided not to go down that route and stick to what we are good at.
“Occasionally, people might get upset at our meetings and we sit with them, give them a box of tissues and wait with them until they are okay and usually the support and encouragement from the group is plentiful. I was worried we wouldn’t be able to offer that level of support and safeguarding remotely.”