What we're about

NOTE This meetup is ONLY for friends, family and caregivers related or close to people with mental health challenges. If you are NOT a friend, family member or caregiver related or close to people with mental health challenges BUT if you are a person with mental health challenges please join: http://www.meetup.com/MentalHealthSupportNetwork (https://www.meetup.com/MentalHealthSupportNetwork/)

IF YOU ARE IN NEED OF EMERGENCY SUICIDE PREVENTION HELP OR IN DANGER OF HURTING YOURSELF OR OTHERS, YOU MUST PLEASE:

Phone 911 if it is an emergency.

Go to nearest hospital.

WE ARE NOT A TREATMENT CENTER.WE ARE A PEER SUPPORT ORGANIZATION ONLY.

NOTHING WE DISCUSS HERE CAN BE CONSIDERED AS MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS CHECK WITH YOUR DOCTOR.

This meetup group is designed to become a support network for friends, family and caregivers related or close to people with mental health challenges.

Many families understand the dramatic emotional burden of dealing with loved ones with mental health challenges. Family and friends are relied upon to support those affected. Often family, friends and caregivers may not understand the mental health "labels" or "illnesses".

Understanding more about the mental health challenges and "labels" is a key step to developing a more caring and understanding environment where improvement and even recovery can occur.

We run the following 3 Meetup Groups:

http://www.meetup.com/Mental-Health-Peer-Support-Organization

http://www.meetup.com/Friends-Family-For-Mental-Health-Support-Group

http://www.meetup.com/Depressed-but-Enthusiastic/

This is group will grow by networking with people and families with similar challenges and sharing coping strategies, resources, experiences and more.

This group is not lead by medical professionals, but rather professionals with non-medical designations. We bring to the table over 5 years of highly innovative peer support meetings, now over 300 meetings, through our "sister" meetup group, which is also a registered Not For Profit Corporation, outlined below. Through the over 300 peer support meetings, we have developed some practical models that help people with mental health labels improve the quality of their lives. We are just beginning our journey of crossing over our peer support model to now help family and friends who are affected by loved ones with mental health challenges.

We have a vast amount of feedback from hundreds of members of the mental health community including people with various mental health challenges, social workers, peer support workers, mental health community stakeholders, and various other mental health organizations large and small, nurses, and various M.D.'s including psychiatrists. This feedback has helped develop our peer support model which is able to often help people across the entire spectrum of mental health labels.

For more details on WRAP see:

WRAP plans - Wellness Recovery Action Plan - Mary Ellen Copeland http://www.mentalhealthrecovery.com/ wrap/

Your WRAP® program is designed by you in practical, day-to-day terms, and holds the key to getting and staying well.

If you have a loved one in need of mental health peer support you can refer them to our existing "sister" meetup group with well over 1000 members online and many more members offline as seen at: http://www.meetup.com/Mental-Health-Peer-Su... (http://www.meetup.com/Mental-Health-Peer-Support-Organization/)

This group will have the dual purpose of supporting:

Friends & Family & Caregivers For people with Mental Health challenges as well as providing needed assistance to: (http://www.meetup.com/Friends-Family-For-Mental-Health-Support-Group/)
http://www.meetup.com/Mental-Health-Peer-Su... (http://www.meetup.com/Mental-Health-Peer-Support-Organization/)

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For more info on the existing "sister" meetup group (http://www.meetup.com/Mental-Health-Peer-Su... (http://www.meetup.com/Mental-Health-Peer-Support-Organization/)) with well over 1000 online and many more members offline see below:

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The Mental-Health-Peer-Support-Organization (MHPSO) is a continuation of the "New Mental Health Movement" , which started in January 2011 and had many successful meetings at St. Joe's Health Center in Toronto as well as several fun socials at other location such as High Park.

We had our contract renewed with St. Joseph's Health Centre for all of 2014! Thankfully St. Joseph's Health Centre donates the space we meet in. There is no other connection between this group and St. Joseph's Health Centre.

We have now changed the name of the meetup.com to Mental Health Peer Support Organization (MHPSO), which is the name of the Ontario based Not For Profit Corporation founded in early 2011.

We also helped several people get back to work both full time and part time. And many of us had fun and improved the quality of our lives along the way.

The Mental Health Peer Support Organization has now over 300 meetings under its belt, with over 40 meetings and/or socials in 2011 and 44 meetings in 2012, 53 meetings and/or socials in 2013, 64 meetings and/or socials in 2014, and 64 meetings and/or socials in 2015. As of June 29, 2016, MHPSO continues to host weekly support groups and socials has had 36 meetings in 2016, thus far.

We always learn from each group as feedback and peer experience fuels our community.

The Mental Health Peer Support Organization is a group designed to help people with mental health labels and /or challenges live happier and more fulfilling lives. Members within the group, pledge to help each other and themselves at the same time. This group will inspire people to reach their individual goals with the support and encouragement of each other. Sharing, caring and open, honest communication are key to the success of this group and it's members.

LET'S BUILD A COMMUNITY OF RECIPROCITY! LET OTHERS HELP YOU WITH YOUR CHALLENGES AND VICE VERSA!

Let's help each other out! Collaboration and peer support are key!

Open to all people with MENTAL HEALTH "labels".

The group is also open to supporters of people with said challenges including friends and family. If you have no friends and family then please join as we want you to make new peer support friends!

Many of our members have been volunteers and or professionals in the area of mental health for years. Many of us KNOW peer support works to improve health. Many have personally been and continue to be involved in results that have improved quality of life and even saved lives.

Goals of this Group:
MHPSO - "United We Rise"

1. BUILD COMMUNITY OF SUPPORT: A community of support for people who suffer from Mental Health "labels" and their loved ones. Reduce isolation, help each other, collaborate, reciprocate, replicate, grow, add new friends and supporters to your life.
2. BREAK DOWN BARRIERS: Stigmas, shame, discrimination, ignorance, lack of public understanding and acceptance are all negative barriers. Together we can start to break down these barriers.
3. DEVELOPMENT OF MORE EMPLOYMENT OPTIONS: Expand employment opportunities, explore your passions. Know your identity and your work are not the same. Collaborate to learn strategies to avoid discrimination and identify employers who are willing to hire people with our challenges and our gifts!
4. PROMOTE HOLISTIC APPROACH TO LIFE: Balance, leisure, exercise, healthy eating, humour, love, creativity, self-direction, self discovery/exploration, emotional awareness and taking charge in your own personal growth are keys to a healthier, happier and more productive life.

MENTAL HEALTH PEER SUPPORT ORGANIZATION (MHPSO.org)

Mission & Guiding Principles

MISSION

“Peers helping peers”. The Mental Health Peer Support Organization is committed to building communities of reciprocity through compassionate and confidential peer support. We inspire and empower fellow peers to pursue a more balanced, healthier and happier life. For those with mental health "labels" and challenges, MHPSO is also open to friends and family of peer supporters.

OUR 13 GUIDING PRINCIPLES:

1. Non Judgmental – We meet each other in private places such as St. Joes Health Centre and public places for social gathers. No matter what the venue we pledge to be non judgmental towards each other.

2. Peer support – We come together as peers with similar experiences to help, nurture and support each other. We share knowledge, experience, coping strategies and emotional, social and practical help.

3. Reciprocity – We seek to build a community of reciprocity, where synergy of strengths and resources allows us to rise up and overcome shared fears and challenges such as stigma, discrimination, stress and social anxiety.

4. Empowerment – We seek to empower ourselves and our community. Together, we harness the strength, courage and motivation to improve our mental and emotional health and thus, the quality of our lives.

5. Social networking – Social networking fulfills an intrinsic human need to feel part of a community. We endeavour to offer camaraderie and friendship to each member of our peer group, especially in times of difficulty, concurrently reducing isolation and loneliness.

6. Anonymity/ confidentiality, compassion and positive solidarity – We are a peer community that is rooted in respectful, compassionate and positive solidarity. What is shared in our community is confidential; notwithstanding the social support nature of our group, we are sensitized to and are respectful of each other’s need for privacy, boundaries and comfort levels.

7. Success in baby steps – Our illness need not imply a limited life where we seek to merely survive; we strive to be happy and successful, setting goals in order to realize our dreams.

8. Action - We endeavour to take action, get involved and make a difference. We listen, learn, encourage, get help, exercise, mentor, coach, counsel, volunteer, advocate, talk more about mental health issues and “labels”, and practice mental fitness and holistic healing (ex. naturopathy, yoga, meditation, spirituality).

9. Zero tolerance for abuse – We do our best to self-monitor our community, promoting zero tolerance for abuse in any way, shape or form.

10. Feedback – Feedback fuels our community. Moreover, we encourage ongoing learning and growth for all peers.

11. Mental fitness – We make every effort to achieve optimal mental health, recognizing that improved psychiatric symptoms results in decreased hospitalization, larger social support networks, and enhanced self esteem and social functioning.

12. Inspire – We pledge to inspire each other and ourselves about overcoming our challenges and optimizing our gifts.

13. Time – We pledge to offer a little bit of time into the group whenever we can. We realize that whenever we help each other; we also help ourselves.

Mission & Guiding Principles: copyright March 9, 2011, by MHPSO.org

RULES FOR Friends-Family-For-Mental-Health-Support-Group MEETUP (operated by MHPSO.org)

1. Confidentiality – everything said at a MHPSO.org Meetup is confidential, unless otherwise stated. Everything shared with you from another MHPSO member both inside and outside of MHPSO must be considered confidential unless otherwise stated by said individual. Additionally no photos can be taken or recording devices of any kind can be used at our support meetings.

2. Non Judgmental of others.

3. Listen - please avoid interrupting others - The facilitator(s) will do their best to "chair" the meeting. The goal is we each take roughly equal share of time speaking.

4. Mindset: Come to serve and be served - The Golden Rule.

5. Everyone's voice counts! Democracy.

6. You are entitled to leave at any time, however it would be helpful to know why you are leaving as the feedback helps us.

7. No abuse to self or others. This would include talking behind people's backs about their personal challenges in their past, present or future. This also includes showing up. and with an offensive odor due to lack of hygiene; please respect yourself and the group by avoiding this.

8. Please no graphic emotional stories in the group that can scar others minds. Instead, please talk to a therapist or someone you might meet at our group that is willing to talk to you one on one, knowing that your story could scar their mind.

9. Listen to others “SUGGESTIVE SOLUTIONS” at your own risk. DO NOT GIVE “ADVICE”. We can only give “SUGGESTIVE SOLUTIONS”.

10. NO SHARING OF ANY PRESCRIPTION MEDICATIONS. THIS IS ILLEGAL!

11. No sharing of videos, pictures, audio or any type of media that could be negatively triggering to other members.

12. Although we respect everyone's right to make their own decisions on religion and politics we ask you to please "park the need to discuss those beliefs at the door" for our support meetings. Politics and religion are not discussed at our support meetings.

13. If you are not someone with mental health challenges - what we call a "mental health peer", you can be asked to leave the group.

14. People who speak negatively about the good intentions of the MHPSO organization may be asked to leave the organization

15. Members or leaders who use the meetup messaging system for reasons other than to support the Mission, Principles, Values and Goals and spirit of MHPSO may be removed without notice.

16. We love new volunteers! However to have a LEADERSHIP role in areas of facilitation, event hosting or committee chairs, MHPSO.org requires you to attend some MHPSO.org groups and/or become familiar with the founder of MHPSO.org and/or its board of directors before you can be approved as a leader.

NOTES

· Do you realize that by just communicating with a peer you will likely help each other?

· We request you please consider posting a review on our Meetup.com homepage.

· Science, practicality, philosophy? Debates will go on forever inside and outside this group.

· We need more leaders! Ask Robert….

Who should not join?

- Journalists seeking information/interviews from members
- Research clinicians seeking test subjects
- Students researching mental health, and seeking information/anecdotes
- Solicitors/investigators/doctors or psychiatrists seeking information or clients

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