Peer Support Group 2.0, when it becomes a one-to-one

Hello Dreamers!

This Friday is a follow up of last week’s ideas on what to expect from the Student minds’ peer support groups, and we will deal with how it might go if you’re the only person showing up.

It’s something to think about in order to avoid a rushed decision. The facilitators will assure you that you can do whatever makes you feel more comfortable, coming back the following week is not running away nor being weak; and staying for a chat is not a mountain to climb.

However, it should be a constructive opportunity. So here a couple of points that are worth considering:

  • If talking in front of other students is uncomfortable, having a chat alone with the facilitators (remember, also students!) could be easier;
  • Being the only person there inevitably makes you feel a little on the spot;
  • For those who have gone through counselling, it can recall those meetings; remember that you don’t have professionals in front of you. It won’t be a questions and answers session, no one will teach you right from wrong.
Find your happy moment every day. It can be a cup of tea. #closertoDreamingTheMoon

It’s about how the week is going, what’s giving you a hard time and what’s your zen moment during the day. If you’re struggling to handle assignments, exams, internship or projects the far they go with the advices is making sure that you are aware of the support services the university offers; if you have people you trust to talk to; if you’re taking time to rest and relax. Instead, if it’s the eating disorder that is distracting you and distressing the most, they will cautiously suggest you to consider the help services in Cardiff.

Overall, you can’t really predict what is going to happen. However, as any other one-to-one, it is likely to be a bit more emotional than a regular peer support group. That said, every decision is up to you. Take advantage of the opportunity if you feel up for it, and do not think that being ready will mean not having the famous 60 seconds of crisis. On the contrary, it might mean letting the crisis out, because it’s the most natural and healthy thing to allow to yourself. For those feeling prepared, go for it. On the other hand, this is about honesty and transparency. For those who don’t feel comfortable, there is no point in putting yourself in a distressing situation or a difficult position, so:


Keep a lookout for the next Safe place next Friday #closertoDreamingtheMoon




Rocking the Peer Support Groups

Hello Dreamers!

An advert in a Cardiff Uni’s bathroom

Today is about a big thing: student minds’ support group. It takes quite an effort to ignore them, because their stickers are in every building of Cardiff UNI, Cardiff Met, and the USW. However, if anyone had asked who thinks that peers support groups are a waste of time, because they’re not professionals; and of energy, because you wouldn’t be able to connect to other people’s stories, my hand would have been in the air.

Therefore, your double agent has gone to their last meeting, and come back with a report. Guess what? They are not professionals, so there is no chance of feeling judged; and you might not be able to connect to other people’s stories, which actually takes a lot of pressure off your own.

Still, will they ask questions? how many people are there? do they ask details to track you afterwards? This might keep people from going. Well, the meetings are run by fellow students, who are trained as facilitators. They do not hold truths (finally!); and they do not make your decisions (thank you!). It is two of them, and 4-5 people attending. They will introduce themselves and explain their three safe rules.

imagesKnowing weight, sizes and calories is not that interesting after all. People come first.

Silence doesn’t harmimagesWhat has been said in the room, stays thereimages

At the beginning of the meeting, attendees are asked to introduce themselves, with as many details as they want. Who would rather skip the presentation can says so. The guidelines on Student minds’ website  provide the generic topic of the month, so you can look it up and decide if you are interested in hearing something about it. March is dedicated to the challenges of University life, when living with an eating disorder. In fact, the facilitators started from there. People share what they wish on how the assignments are going; where will the next vacation be; if they rather stay in Cardiff for Easter or going back home; how they handle ordering at the restaurant during the festivities. Eating disorders come up once in a while, and without any pressure.

No one is saying it is easy, nothing about dealing with an eating disorder is; but at least this meeting is not something to worry about, and relief can be a new and cuddling feeling. In one hour of chatting, there was laughter, and a moment of tenderness: although you can be sitting in silence, once everyone has said something, they might automatically turn towards you. The quizzical eyes are not asking questions, just hoping that you’ll say “hello” back. A cautious encouragement more than a push, but we know that courage makes a difference. If eyes start burning, that is fine as well. In 60 seconds of crisis, you might think that coming was the wrong move. Deep breaths and no shame. No one will ask what is wrong, nor will they explore your demons. It will pass in a minute and the meeting will wrap up fine.


Have you ever attended a peer support group? Share how it went, or why you feel it’s not right for you! Next Friday a follow up on what happens when the peer group becomes a one-to-one!  #closertoDreamingtheMoon