In September 2016, Buckinghamshire Mind incorporated Mind the Gap into our peer support services. Mind the Gap is now coordinated by two part-time members of staff and its groups are facilitated by dedicated volunteers, some of whom have been service users themselves.
The aim of Mind the Gap is to offer peer supported social and activity groups to local people over the age of 18 who are lonely and socially isolated because of their mental health difficulties. These groups can be accessed without a referral from mental health professionals and are available to people on benefits or low income through low costs and ‘pay as you go’ price structures.
Over the last year, Mind the Gap has grown and now runs social peer support groups in Chesham and High Wycombe, an out-of-hours monthly group in Chesham, together with badminton, bowling and table tennis groups in High Wycombe and Chesham.
What our service users say:
“I like Mind the Gap as they understand me.”
“I find it helpful and you can chat about anything that’s bothering you. I feel supported and not judged.”
“It does me good, I really like it. I like the activities and games but also just chatting, especially as I live on my own.”
Benefits of Peer Support Groups
- Reduce loneliness and social isolation.
- Give like-minded people the opportunity to support each other.
- Introduce people to approaches and ideas that have been helpful to others.
- Help people to share suggestions for coping techniques and support options.
- Improve physical fitness and emotional wellbeing.
- Increase self-esteem and confidence over time.
- Increase involvement in community based activities.
- Provide a sense of belonging to a community of people with similar experiences.
- Increase ability to build and maintain relationships.
- Fewer relapses and hospital admissions.
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