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What to Expect at Your First Session

No Panic is a support group open to anyone struggling with their mental health. Sessions are Wednesdays 6:30-8:30 and Thursdays 10-12 at the Quaker Meeting House.

 quaker

Each session is given a topic which can be anything related to mental health. For example, there are sometimes sessions on specific diagnoses such as:

     Social anxiety

     Depression

     PTSD

Other times there are broader sessions such as:

     Coping strategies

     Mindfulness

     Sleep

     Thought patterns.

Amongst others.

Topics can be requested by members either after a session or by email. The facilitators plan the session ahead of time and lead the conversation. Sometimes activities can be included as well but participation is entirely optional.

All facilitators are understanding and non-judgemental.

My First Session

My first session was over a year ago now and this last year has flown by. I put off coming to no panic for a long time after first hearing about it because of how nerve wracking I found it. It is totally normal for people to enquire and then take some time before attending their first session. I found that coming with a friend for my first session made it seem much less intimidating and it is totally okay to bring someone along for support if you are feeling nervous.

No Panic has made a huge difference in my life as a member. It is a safe space to talk about things that are often difficult to talk about in society. It can be very reassuring to hear that other people have had the same experiences as you and to get tips on how to deal with symptoms. It is a very understanding environment that has really built my confidence to talk about my anxiety in the group and outside of the group.

Since becoming a facilitator my understanding of facilitators has changed. I always assumed that they volunteered because of a professional interest but in getting to know them I’ve realised that people choose to volunteer for this charity because they really care about helping people. One of my biggest worries was fear of judgement especially from facilitators but anything said is kept confidential and no one will think negatively of you for any of the experiences you share.

Common Misconceptions or Worries

Everyone has been coming to the sessions for years and I will stick out.

We get newcomers all the time and whilst we do have some regular members, different people turn up to every session and new members are always welcomed.

All of the facilitators are clinical psychologists who won’t truly understand how I feel.

Many of our facilitators have personal experiences with mental health issues and those that don’t are committed to helping others. We have a wide variety of facilitators including students, former members, those working in the mental health profession and others.

I will be expected to speak in front of the group.

There is absolutely no pressure to speak during the session. Some new members speak lots and some don’t speak at all. A lot can be gained from listening to the experiences of others and whilst there is the opportunity to contribute it is not expected.

If I don’t like it I’m stuck for the rest of the session.

You can leave the session or take a break whenever you feel overwhelmed. However, it may be too intimidating to walk out. There is a break in the middle of each session so if two hours felt like too much, you could stay for the first hour and leave unnoticed during the break.

What if i find something discussed triggering?

We make it clear at the beginning of the session that people attending no panic (including facilitators) can have triggers and ask that anyone who does want to contribute is aware of this.

Help! I want more information.

We fully understand that coming to a support group for the first time, especially as someone with mental health difficulties can be scary. If you have any specific worries you want to discuss or want more information about what to expect you can email the no panic email and one of our volunteers will be happy to help.

 

Phoebe

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