Thank you to everyone who completed our annual survey – we have so far had a response from 16 people which is very good – this represents almost half of our regular members.
1. Please describe what the group means to you, how it has helped and if it is important to you for it to continue.
We asked this question for the first time this year because our funders have requested evidence that we make a difference. I think the members’ response below is an overwhelming yes! We received no negative responses at all but there were some suggestions for improvement which we have listed below.
- I have found this group immensely comforting and supportive over the years. I have suffered with bouts of depression. In this group I can relax and know I am with like-minded people. I get ideas about coping by talking with other members. It is unique in that it is not time limited and it’s free.
- I have attended the group for 16 years. It has helped me make sense of my depression, to be amongst fellow sufferers. I have also made important friendships. It is a place I can go when I am not well and feel comfortable. I have benefited greatly from its existence.
- [The group is very important] because it is for people who understand and can by that very fact be supportive and I can reciprocate. The group provides an essential social network and a means of connecting even when not well.
- Group helped me recover from a very steep depression 7 years ago and has been a safety valve and practical source of information and support ever since.
- Nice to be around people who have similar problems and share their concerns; the understanding and support is helpful.
- The group has given me confidence and helped me with my anxiety and depression. It is good to have somewhere to go.
- The group has helped me by talking about my depression as I have no family, [it] helped me to make friends.
- Very helpful to talk to others who suffer from depression and talk about things that relieve it/help us to deal with it. Also listening to talks on aspects of depression from experts, read books and self-help leaflets from DA and others.
- It is very helpful to be in a group with like-minded people. We are able to discuss all aspects of depression.
- I have been unemployed for the last 11 months and it is by attending the Monday and Tuesday meetings that I have kept my sanity. The group is so supportive [especially] because the organisers have had and understand depression. The group is a lifeline for me.
- I like the group and need to see all the members every 2 weeks. It always helps me.
- It has helped me to talk about depression in among a confidential and supportive group. Groups are very experienced and knowledgeable. They are available by email and phone too.
- The fact that all members have suffered depression provides a safe environment where we can be ourselves. The mental health services are unreliable. They close groups because the staff need to move ignoring our need of consistency. It’s crucial the group continues to meet. It’s very helpful to know that there is a place to go where one feels welcomed and safe. It’s also healthy to make new friends and to be in contact with them outside the group. It stops me from feeling isolated and lonely.
- The group has been a great place to be when I was in the depth of depression. It provided a safe space to come to and be accepted for who I am without judgement of my ‘condition’. For some people, this group may be the only social space where they can speak of their depression without fear of judgement and that’s absolutely vital. The group was also useful for me in terms of information and practical support and I am very grateful to [the group organiser] and the other committee members for doing such a brilliant job running it and keeping it alive.
- Since I have been coming to the group, together with medication, my depression has really lifted, and I am now more able to live a more normal life. It is crucial to be able to talk to fellow sufferers in the reassuring safety and confidentiality of the group. It is sometimes difficult to talk to your own family about your anxieties, fears and thoughts, as you feel you don’t want to be a burden on them, and you doubt whether they could understand what you are going through anyway. The group enables you to escape the isolation that this crippling, debilitating illness causes. It is vital for this group to continue as it is a lifeline for so many!
- The group is very important to me. It provides information and support to members. On a personal level friendships made there have been crucial in giving me support outside meetings when I have had a bad time of depression and anxiety. No other friendships can give quite the same understanding and skill.
2. Suggestions for improvement, meeting ideas etc
Top of the list were Mindfulness Sessions and Music and Dance – we have done all these this year and we are having a dance session as part of the January meeting. We will definitely bear all the other suggestions in mind when planning future meetings – thank you!
- People wanted more mindfulness sessions (6)
- Music and dance (2)
- Discuss healing from depression and not just coping with it
- Nutrition as part of the healing process
- How to improve our close relationships so we are better supported on our journey
- How to safely open up and share about depression with others
- Sharing photos session (we did this last year)
- Session on antidepressants and how they work
- Discussing poetry –referring to a recent issue of A Single Step
- Speaker from the Black Dog Tribe
3. Anything you dislike or find difficult about meetings?
The majority of respondents said there were no issues they wanted to raise and were happy with how the group was run. Three people made comments here:
- I sometimes find it difficult to talk
- I find it difficult to remember people’s names.
- Would like to explore ways people can be cured or healed from their depression not just ways of coping with it.
- Find the Livingstone meeting room can get too crowded at times
4. Moving the second meeting from Tuesday to Thursday
7 were happy with the move to Thursdays and 7 did not mind. One was unhappy about the change and one declined to respond.
Posted on 18 December 2014