What are PANDAS Support Groups?
We have PANDAS Support Groups in many areas of the UK. Each group set up is slightly different, what they have in common is they are run by people who have lived in experience of perinatal mental health illness and they offer peer support.
Our facilitators understand how lonely and isolating it can be to be a parent, we understand that it can be difficult to attend groups when you are feeling low and anxious but the groups are somewhere where you can get support in a welcoming and friendly environment. Our group leaders understand how hard it is to come to a new group and will do everything they can to make you feel comfortable.
What is peer support?
Peer support is people using their own experiences to help each other. Peer support can improve your emotional health and wellbeing and let you know that you are not alone. Everyone’s experience is different and at the groups we respect everyone’s opinion.
How can I find my nearest support group?
Our on-line map of all our support groups is linked here. Input your address and you will be given a list of support in your local area. You can then highlight the support group nearest you and it will give you further information on the group. If you would like more information, or if there is not a group in your area please contact the support groups team: firstname.lastname@example.org
Our group leaders
All our support group leaders have had the necessary safeguarding checks and training and are offered support and supervision. Our group leaders aim to provide a safe and supportive environment and have policies and procedure guidelines to follow to maintain safeguarding, data protection and confidentiality requirements.
Do I have to say something?
No, you don’t have to speak out about your experience if you don’t feel able to. We want you to feel comfortable within the group and it is up to you what you share.
What will happen at the meetings?
Meetings vary from group to group and you can contact the support group in your area for more information. If a group has a webpage or a Facebook page this will also be linked in the contact information and will offer further information about the group. Often there are refreshments and groups vary from a cup of tea and a chat to session topics on methods of self-care.
Groups are held in Children’s Centres, Village Halls, Church Halls and some other community venues and have facilities for parking and baby changing; for more information simply contact the group and they will give you more information about the venue.
Will I be expected to come to all the meetings?
No, we understand that the groups may not suit everybody or there may be weeks when you don’t feel like coming or have any other plans.
There’s not support group in my area what can I do?
We have new groups joining PANDAS every month, please email: email@example.com and we will add your name to our ‘no group in area’ database enabling us to keep in contact with you and let you know if a group starts in your area.
Do I have to pay?
This varies from group to group. Some groups are free, others ask for a voluntary donation. All groups however are not for profit and all funds go back in to the support group or PANDAS Foundation. For more information, contact your local support group leader or look on their website or Facebook public page.
Can I take my children?
Of course. Groups have toys, games and crafts for your little ones; this is protected time for you and your baby and a way to meet other mums, dads and children. Your children remain your responsibility at all times during the meeting.
Evening sessions sometimes have different kinds of activities such as hand massage and nail treatments these are a chance for you to have some time to yourself. It is best to contact the group leader before the session to ask if you can bring babies along.
I would like to set up a support group how do I do this?
It is great that you would like to set up a support group, click here and fill in your name, email and address and we will send you a support group information pack with more details about how to start your group. If you would like any more information then please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org