Think of us as the knowing nod. You’ve seen it – a slight bob of the head, often accompanied by a smile. A little movement that says, “I understand”, “I’m listening” and “I’m here for you”. That’s us.
That “knowing nod” can really help someone who is in the midst of depression, which is why we are passionate about developing and delivering peer support networks. Peer support not only reduces isolation, but it allows someone who has experienced depression, to use their hindsight as another’s foresight. It also provides encouragement, hope and a different perspective.
"Peer support is a system of giving and receiving help founded on key principles of respect, shared responsibility, and mutual agreement of what is helpful. Peer support is not based on psychiatric models and diagnostic criteria. It is about understanding another’s situation empathically through the shared experience of emotional and psychological pain."
- Shery Mead, 2003
How we do it
Our Peer Support Facebook Group is a place where you can talk openly about depression, mutually give and receive support from peers and learn about depression/wellbeing.
The group is moderated by trained Peer Support Voluntary Facilitators, who are on hand to answer questions and to ensure the safety of its members. They also have a responsibility to take professional advice if someone appears to present an immediate threat to themselves.
We want to ensure that this is a safe, nurturing and social environment. We have to be very honest and clear about what this group is, and what it isn’t, to manage expectations. As such, we have a set of guidelines that we take very seriously. We have to. And if you’d like to be a member of our Peer Support Group, we ask you to take them seriously too.
Guidelines set our expectations. They also allow us to work together to ensure a space is a safe, supportive and nurturing environment. As our Peer Support Group grows, our guidelines will also flex to meet the needs of its members.
Peer Support Group Guidelines
You are expected to take personal responsibility for your participation in our Peer Support Group.
In January 2016, the group took part in a survey which helped shape the guidelines. Another survey will be commissioned in July 2016. This will give members a chance to shape the guidelines going forward and to provide feedback on their experience of the group.
You can view the survey results here.
Before you request to join the group, we ask that you please read the following guidelines in full. In submitting a request to join, you are agreeing to the following rules and guidelines:
What the group is
The group is a secret Facebook Group which means that unless they are also members of the group, your friends and family can’t see what you post in here. Nobody outside of the group, can access the member list either.
We operate this group on an Honour System – led on trust, honour and honesty. Please give support as much as you receive. The group works so well and feels like a family because members give support as much as they receive. If you’re popping into the group for support, why not spend an extra few minutes looking through the feed to see if there’s anyone who you can support in return – perhaps someone whose post hasn’t yet received a comment. If we work together to help people to feel heard, understood and not alone, we’re making the world a better place for us all.
Be respectful to others at all times. We’re not bothered by the odd swear word, we’re really not. They’re just words but when aimed at other people, we do mind. We mind a lot. It’s up to us individually to be mindful of our words. Anyone who is rude, offensive or critical of another member will be removed.
Do not make assumptions, judgements or statements about others. If a disagreement should occur in the group, please refrain from taking sides and disengage from the interaction.
This group is for those who are affected by depression. We understand that depression can often go hand-in-hand with other mental health problems. If you need support for those, please see the ‘Get Support’ section.
What the group isn’t
This is not an emergency medical/crisis service. The people in the group are here to give, and receive, peer support – support based on their experiences, knowledge and understanding. These people are your peers, they aren’t medically/professionally trained to be able to support those who are in immediate harm or danger to themselves, or others. If you are in immediate harm or danger to yourself, please do not post in the group, please contact one of these services.
We take the safety of the group incredibly seriously and won’t hesitate contact the emergency services if we are worried that someone is an immediate threat to themselves or others. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Please do not seek medical advice from the group. Always seek advice from a pharmacist or your doctor. You can also contact the NHS on 111. It is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Calls are free from landlines and mobile phones.
Please do not embark on political or religious debates. This is not the place to do so.
No anti-medication posts please, to the wall or in the comments of a post. It’s totally inappropriate for a group of this nature.
We do not support selling within the group. This is a Peer Support Group, not a marketplace.
There are lots of other platforms you can sell on, here are just a few suggestions for you:
Use of Trigger Warnings
As the group has grown, there’s been a lot of to-ing and fro-ing with Trigger Warnings – whether they should be allowed in this space or not, too many of them, not enough of them, a great deal of uncertainty about them.
A Trigger Warning provides a warning that the content of a post might be triggering – it might trigger anxiety, stress, and memories for another user. Some people can be triggered by the word ‘trigger’ and so we ask for people to use TW instead.
We DO ask that you use TW on posts which deal with suicidal thoughts, self-harm thoughts and abuse. We know that talking about these feelings can lessen their power,increase understanding and challenge the stigma.
We ask that you use:
TW:SH (for self-harm posts)
TW:SUI (for suicidal thoughts)
TW:AB (for posts which include reference to abuse – sexual, physical and emotional)
Please type TW:[INSERT SH/SUI/AB as applicable] at the top of a post, press enter,type *, press enter, type * and repeat 10 times. It’s important that you repeat 10 times to prevent the content from appearing in feeds. The TW is useless when people can still see the triggering content. Then start writing your post.
It will look like this:
[Then start your post from here]
Please also be mindful when talking about traumatic events/death/loss or situations of a sexual nature. If in doubt, please contact one of the moderators for guidance.
Please do not post any graphic detail or plans, this is not a crisis group. You are ultimately responsible for your own safety. We do have to be strict here, there are other services available to you if you’re in crisis. Posts about suicidal thoughts and self-harm thoughts are okay, posts about having the means to end your life, having done something to harm yourself, are not for the group. You are expected to take personal responsibility for your contributions at all times, including times when difficult or challenging situations or interactions may arise. We want to avoid evoking helplessness and responsibility in others.
You are also responsible for what you choose to read. If a post has a TW on it and you choose to read it anyway, you are responsible for that decision.
There is a strict ban on graphic images, posts will be deleted immediately.
If your post is reported to us for use of graphic language, we will review it. If we deem changes need to be made, we will contact you and ask you to edit it, rather than asking you to remove it. Only if you do not edit it within 30 minutes, will we remove the post completely. If you are repeatedly asked to edit a post due to graphic detail, we will have no option than to remove you from the group.
Please also be mindful of triggering language in replies to posts by other people, especially in comments to a post which does not already contain a TW. These comments will be removed.
Reporting Posts to Admin
The group remains a caring, kind, open and warm community because the group as a collective works together to keep it that way. If you see a post which goes against our rules and guidelines, then please report it to us. Please do not take it upon yourself to publicly call the person out.
To report something you see in a group:
Find the post you want to report
Click on the dropdown arrow in the top-right corner
Select Report to Admin to report the post to an admin
If you are not given the option to ‘report to admin’ from the dropdown menu, please send a PM instead with a screenshot of the post in question.
Note: If you choose to report the post to an admin, the admin will know that you reported it. Admins may or may not choose to remove the post or block the person who shared the post. Reporting a post to an admin won’t send a report to Facebook.
If you see someone being rude, offensive or threatening to another member, please take a screenshot of the conversation and send it via PM to a moderator.
Please click here for instructions on how to do this on different devices.
The Moderating Team
The moderating team is in place to keep the group running smoothly and to ensure the rules and guidelines are followed. Moderators also take action when members do not comply with the guidelines. Moderators cannot provide emotional support privately to individual members, including those who may be feeling suicidal or in crisis. The moderators act on behalf of Blurt and their decision is final. Please be respectful to moderators too, they do a fabulous job of keeping this group running.
If you are asked by a moderator to edit/remove a post, please do not take it personally. We ask nicely, explain why and have removed very few people from the group since it began in January 2015.
We all make mistakes. Mistakes in here are usually honest ones – made by members and moderators.
When you join a group, the guidelines are in place to keep the group as safe as possible. Not everyone will like the guidelines but they are there for a reason and a great deal of time and effort has been put into them, to ensure they are fair.
Moderators show respect by using PMs (Private Messages) to contact members, rather than publicly within the group. It’s a private conversation and we ask that you please refrain from discussing the moderator’s decision within the group.
As an aside, when you threaten to leave the group because you’ve been asked by a moderator to edit a post, it does three things:
i) It makes other members feel scared of making a mistake,
ii) It divides the group, and
iii) It undermines the really amazing and hard work that the moderators do in keeping this group running smoothly.
Turning Off Notifications
This is a busy group, there are hundreds of posts to the wall each and every day. For some, the notifications can be a little overwhelming.
You might like to stop posts to the group from appearing in your newsfeed. When you see a post on your news feed, click on the dropdown arrow to the top right-hand side of the post and click ‘un follow Blurt Peer Support Group’. You’ll still remain a member of the group and can pop in at any time to suit you.
If you’d like to stop receiving notifications from the group of new posts – hover over the notification and a cross will appear, click on that and it will ask you if you want to see fewer. You’ll still receive notifications of likes/comments to your posts and of likes/comments of posts you have commented on. To stop those, hover over the notification and click on the cross when it appears, choose to ‘turn off’.
No spamming the group or posting of promos please. Doing so, can prevent others posts for help from being seen. What is a promo? Where you’re actively trying to sell something, subtlety trying to sell something, promoting your social media profiles, promoting your website, products, another Facebook page, offering free/paid consultations, affiliate links or promoting personal blog posts. This also includes posts which ask for votes (competitions, political or otherwise), asking for charity contributions for any organisation other than Blurt and the recruitment of volunteers/employees. If you would like to share a link with the group, for the benefit of the group, to which you have no personal affiliation – it’s absolutely fine to do so. If you’re unsure, please don’t post but ask a moderator for clarification.
Please do not crowdsource the group for help with articles, blog posts, case studies,questionnaires, or surveys. From time to time, Blurt will ask if you’d like to contribute on a blog post we are writing. Either Jayne Hardy, Lotte Lane, Amy Trevaskus, Lea Rice, Maddy Dilley or Naomi Barrow will post these requests in the group. We ask that no other members do this please.
If you’re ever in doubt whether a post might not be allowed, please seek permission from a moderator before posting to the group.
Any documents/files added to the groups‘files’ tab which haven’t been created by Blurt or moderators will be deleted.
What is spoken about in this group,stays in this group. Confidentiality is very important. This is a place for trust, where people are putting their most vulnerable and authentic selves out there for us all to see. Let it stay here. Respect confidentiality.
Please do not share or copy any posts from the group onto your main Facebook feed or elsewhere online. Confidentiality is super important. If you like something that has been posted in the group, please find the external source and share from there.
Respecting personal boundaries
It’s crucially important that we respect one another’s personal boundaries. Please do not send friend requests to other members of the group nor send PM’s (Private Messages) without seeking their permission within the group first. If you are reported to the moderators for doing this, we will consider removing you from the group.
Please don’t post to the main feed asking people to add you as a Facebook friend outside of the group nor participate in group chats. These posts will be removed by admin.
Also bear in mind, that if you give someone permission to send you PM’s and/or be a friend outside of the group, any interactions outside of the group are your sole responsibility and we are unable to moderate those.
Blurt Spin-Off Groups
Whilst we have one spin-off group – our reading group BLURT Reads, we do not support any other spin-off groups and request that you please do not start any, using Blurt’s name. We feel the Peer Support Group is stronger because people are posting about creativity, fitness, self-care and craft projects rather than to have separate groups for those things.
Use of the search box
Where to find the ‘search group’ box:
On a PC, you’ll need to be in the group. The box will be under the main cover photo and will say ‘search this group’.
On a mobile device, you will need to be in the group. The search facility will beat the very top of the screen.
You can use these search boxes to search for topics like books, self-care, advice….to name a few.
Applying to be a Moderator
As the group grows, the need for more moderators does too.
The moderator’s role is crucial – they play a pivotal role in the success of the group, the wellbeing of the group, in facilitating mutual support within the group and care a great deal about the benefits of peer support.
Moderators are a person of authority in a forum. They ensure the groups runs smoothly, that rules and guidelines are implemented, enable members to feel safe and maintain the friendly tone of the group. They deal with problems swiftly and are able to maintain neutrality, authority, confidence, patience, warmth, kindness and understanding.
The role entails good leadership skills, good decision making skills, good problem solving skills, respect for fellow moderators and the ability to work together as a team. Moderators monitor and moderate user-generated content to ensure that the online community is maintained as a safe environment for its members.
If you’re interested in applying to become a moderator, and you have 6 hours of time to volunteer per week, you can submit your application here.
Request to Join
To join our Peer Support Group, please submit your details using the form below.
Items marked with an ‘*’ are required fields. Your request will not be submitted if those are not completed nor if you haven’t ticked to confirm that you accept the terms and conditions.
[Please note: we aim to process all new member requests within 72 hours. The invite will come from Facebook, so please check your spam/junk email folders. If you have not received your invite within 72 hours of submission or if you have any queries please contact email@example.com]