Men’s Support Group Meet (5th November 2014)

I would consider today’s meeting as our most successful so far. I have spent every minute of the past two weeks intensely marketing the group. On MeetUp, Twitter, Facebook, Abergavenny Chronicle, contacting local counsellors, telling friends of friends, putting our details on mental health directories, including one run by the NHS for cancer patients. It looks like my marketing paid off because we had at least seven people, too many count at a quick glance.

We had a new member who I felt was very brave. It can be daunting to come to a group for the first time, however he soon got stuck in, probably because the regulars are so welcoming, thoughtful and compassionate.

There is a lot of wisdom in the group, as some people have had mental health issues for decades. So it was good for everyone to share their wisdom and experiences, not only because wisdom can help us discover new coping-strategies, but also it can make us feel less alone to find other people who are struggling with similar issues.

We spoke about how CBT and mindfulness can help with emotional regulation.

A few days ago I realised that I wanted the group to also utilise mental health preventative strategies, i.e. it is good to support people with stress before it turns in to a more serious mental health issue. Therefore I told the group that we will be accepting people who are distressed or stressed, or just going through a hard time. You do not need a form diagnosis to come to the group, this especially important because some people might be undiagnosed or might be in a phase where we can prevent them from developing a mental health issue.

We went round the table and we all introduced ourselves and spoke a little about our reason for being there. It was great to hear what people had to say.

Obviously the group is confidential so I never mention specifics about any individual, unless they request that I do or if I ask them and they are ok with being mentioned. However by default I don’t mention specifics. Confidentiality can help in making people feel safer within the group, it is also easier to open up if you know people won’t blurt it out to others.

The members are so supportive of each other, I am honoured to have met them all.

If you know of anyone who might benefit from visiting our group then please let me know. You can contact me via the contact page on this website.

Copyright MEN HEAL 2014.

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