A peer support group for adults facing mental health difficulties in Guildford is tackling the stresses of life.

It’s free, friendly, confidential and runs weekly. Organised by the national charity PeerTalk, the group is led by fully trained facilitators and offers a safe place for people to share, offload, be heard and supported.

Rosa Trelfa, from PeerTalk, says ‘Research tells us that one in four people experience mental health difficulties in their lives.  Depression is very common. Any of us, irrespective of age, gender or background, can be affected at some point in our life and the isolation and suffering that comes with depression can be tough.’

‘The strength of these peer support groups comes from the support offered – from others who have a lived experience of depression, who understand, who will not judge, and who can offer help from their own experience.’

The local group in Guildford is part of a national network of existing peer support groups around the country.  With over 100 trained volunteer facilitators, these groups have had a steady stream of people benefit from the support offered, with some attendees then going onto to train to become volunteer facilitators themselves.

‘There is a growing body of research looking into the effect of peer support in the field of mental health.  Research has shown that peer support groups can lead to an improvement in wellbeing, enhanced self-esteem and better social functioning.  The research is ongoing but the signs are good.’

‘Our support groups are friendly, non-clinical and non-judgemental gatherings, with laughter along the way as well the careful listening and abundant support.  We know that it’s good to talk.  It’s even better when you’re heard and not judged, when you’re supported rather than criticised.’

There is no need to register in advance or make an appointment to attend the support group.  They are free of charge and there are no waiting lists. People can just turn up and will be most welcome.  The peer support group in Guildford runs every Wednesday evening, 7.30pm–9pm at The Spike Community Centre (next to St Luke’s Surgery and St Luke’s Square), Warren Road, Guildford,  GU1 3JH.

For more details, see www.peertalk.org.uk/index.php/support-groups or call 07719 562 617 for more information.