What we're about

Have you grown tired of:

• Being redirected to telephone helplines when you reach out for support?

• Long waiting lists for professional mental health services?

• A lack of peer-to-peer support in mainstream mental health provisions?

• Feeling unsupported by your GP, Care Coordinator, organisations or friends and family?

• Feeling as though you are being dismissed, judged or misunderstood when you express yourself?

If you answered "Yes" to any of the above, then this could be a good group for you.

**Who we are**

Safe Spaces is a new, peer-led social and support Meetup group created in response to a noticeable gap in the provision of mental health services for those struggling with severe and enduring mental illness which manifests in self-harm, suicidal ideation, intrusive thoughts and associated problems.

I understand that sometimes, when we are dealing with pain that is beyond our limits and capacity to cope, well-meaning individuals and organisations can unknowingly cause further alienation, invalidation and isolation. Often, terms like "self-harm" and "suicide" have negative stigmas attached to them (and are mistakenly used interchangeably), resulting in sufferers being silenced.

I understand that sometimes, the last thing you want to hear is "Call The Samaritans" or "Go for a walk" or "It gets better."

I understand that sometimes, you just want someone to LISTEN.

**Why we're here**

In my search for peer support and safe spaces for people going through this turmoil, I found nothing.

Non-judgemental peer support is a powerful tool, and is invaluable for those of us who are hurting and vulnerable. Safe Spaces exists precisely for that. It exists to provide positive peer support. It exists to show sensitivity and solidarity.

**What we will do**

We will host casual, comfortable, safe socials in a quiet location in London. Here, we can chat honestly and openly about our experiences and feelings in the company of people who understand. We can share what helps, what doesn't and everything in between. We can speak about the things we don't usually talk about - the things that matter.

**Important Information**

If your life is at immediate risk and you need urgent help, please dial 999. We are not a helpline or a prevention/intervention service. Our group is not intended to be a substitute for crisis services, medical intervention or professional help. Due to the fact that this is a peer-led initiative, none of the members of Safe Spaces are qualified to give advice or solutions, or to provide emergency/crisis support.

Safe Spaces is for an individual experiencing mental health difficulties and is not suitable for their carers, friends, family and allies. However, a member can of course bring a loved one to Meetups if they need additional support. If you wanted to join to find information or resources for a loved one you are caring for or concerned about, please send me an email instead. I'll be happy to help.

Safe Spaces a Private Group: This means that non-members cannot see who is in this group, the discussions or any Meetup details (aside from the title, date, time and how many people are attending). This measure is in place to protect the privacy and security of everyone here.

To join the group, click on "Request to Join." All join requests will be approved within 24 hours or sooner, unless stated otherwise.

All events are FREE to attend. In order for this to be feasible, events will take place in a public space and I cannot guarantee complete privacy. However, I will do my best to facilitate our meetings in a comfortable and quiet location.

Before you attend any of our events, please read our Group Rules, Legal Disclaimer & Release of Liability and Safety Policy (links TBA soon!).

For queries, please contact us on safe-spaces(at)outlook(dot)com. Due to a high volume of private messages on Meetup (as a result of running another, much larger Meetup group), this is the quickest way to reach me.

If you would like to share your ideas, thoughts and suggestions, please use our anonymous Suggestion Box: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BFW58CL

Thank you.

**And finally...***

Remember that your feelings are valid. You are NOT selfish or weak. You deserve to be heard and understood.

Lots of love,

Jaz x

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