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Blog: Moving to online support groups (Covid-19)

By Frankie

Covid-19 has temporarily transformed the way in which we live our lives. Everyone is finding this unsettling. But for those of us with mental health difficulties, there is an extra layer of complexity. Many of the measures we take to regulate our mental health seem suddenly unavailable to us all at a time of increased anxiety and uncertainty.

But lots of mental health specific groups and classes are taking to the Internet. On Monday, I attended Health in Mind’s Depression and Anxiety Support Group via Zoom. I usually attend the group in person so how would it translate online?

It’s good news! When I logged on to the app and saw the faces pop up on my screen I instantly felt warm and connected. I found that most of the benefits of the group translated to the online format. I felt understood, supported and valued and picked up several tips for maintaining my mental health while social distancing.

Do you regularly attend one of Health in Mind’s Peer Support groups but feel sceptical about making the move online?

I would urge you to give it a go. It’s really simple to set up and my experience was really positive. After all, if it’s not for you, all you have lost is an hour. And we have all got hours to spare right now!

Never tried a peer support group before?

What better time to give it a shot. Imagine connecting with people who already understand many of your worries about how Covid-19 will affect your mental health. Worried that everyone else will know each other? We were all new to peer support once, and the regular members all remember how nerve wracking our first time was. Please know that you will be welcomed. New members are what keep peer support settings fresh and dynamic. There is no pressure to speak, you can just listen. Plus, you’ll only be new once!

Worried that listening to others talk about their Covid-19 concerns might increase your own anxiety levels?

When people find out that I attend a support group they often ask “doesn’t sitting in a room full of depressed people make you feel worse?” This couldn’t be further from the truth. I find being part of a group of people who genuinely understand and support me really uplifting. Yes, sometimes we cry, but we almost always laugh.

Give it a shot – hopefully I’ll see you there!

How to attend the group?

The Edinburgh Depression and Anxiety Support Group, a peer support group for adults living with depression, anxiety and low mood has moved online!

Meetings will take place using the platform Zoom at the same time as the usual face to face meetings.

To join a session or if you have any questions, please email before 3pm on the day you would like to attend.

Each session will be 50 minutes for up to 8 participants and a peer facilitator.

Dates and times
Mondays from 7.00 – 7.50pm and 8.00 -8.50pm
23 March; 6 and 20 April; 4 and 18 May; 1, 15 and 29 June (Augustine group)

Mondays from 4.00 – 4.50pm and 5.00 – 5.50pm
30 March; 13 and 27 April; 11 and 25 May; 8 and 22 June (Stockbridge group)

Tuesdays from 7.00 – 7.50 and 8.00 – 8.50pm
31 March; 14 and 28 April; 12 and 26 May; 9 and 23 June (Methodist Church Group)

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