Regardless of the type of SFNSW support group, each group contains the following core elements:
Through the lived experiences of the co-leaders and members. Knowledge from experience is transferred through opinions, stories and suggestions made between group members. Often a group will have a guest speaker where knowledge can also be transferred onto participants in the group.
Share & Air
An opportunity for visitors and members to share their feelings and air their problems are a part of every group in some form, whether formally through a round circle discussion focused on a person or informally over coffee during a break or before the formal meeting begins.
Often the most rewarding aspects of a group meeting are the people you meet. We share a common interest, trying to better our lives or the lives of someone we care for. It is important to know that we are not alone and not to blame. Problems are shared in groups and so is the feeling of achievement when the problems are overcome.
Our groups are not facilitated by clinical professionals; rather the leaders are volunteers who have lived experience of mental health. Our groups are not therapy * groups although some will find the groups therapeutic.
* - treatment of physical, mental or behavioural disorders that is meant to cure or rehabilitate an individual.
Each group offers opportunities for something different including (but not limited too) fundraising, advocacy, group activities, research participation, public awareness group projects, fighting stigma, etcetera.