Hi I’m Georgie and I’m a Peer Mentor for Richmond Fellowship at our Hammersmith and Fulham employment and wellbeing service. There is a team of Peer Mentors all running different types of groups. I was offered the opportunity to facilitate group sessions for two hours on Wednesdays. Just like the people in the group I have been through mental health challenges of my own and this experience helps me to connect with the people we support. The others run a Mindfulness group and another does Yoga. Sometimes we hold groups in pairs or as a team.
On the weekend, I like to think about the next session and research the topic. For each one I like to have a topic which sparks conversation and reflection in the group. I’ll find handouts and make notes. On my journey to White City I read my notes and get my thoughts in order. Then when I arrive, I set out chairs in a circle and prepare my notes. The group arrives in dribs and drabs and I’m always so pleased to see everyone. I’m delighted that they keep showing up.
I start each session with some games. Then we chat about our week and I’ll outline the session plan. Sometimes the group wants to focus on something different or one topic takes up the whole time as we get very deep into a discussion. I have to be flexible and sensitive to both the group dynamic and individuals to make sure everyone has the opportunity to contribute. I also lookout for anyone who is getting uncomfortable. It can be challenging but I always have some games on standby to lighten the mood. The goal of these games is always to promote group cohesion and fun. We all get to have a bit of a giggle!