Project Anchor is a Support Group initiative by MentAmigo. This segment entails a number of support groups run online and offline for people coming from different socio-cultural and professional backgrounds, age groups and concerns. These sessions are facilitated by trained and qualified psychologists. With this initiative we aim to create a safe, accessible, affordable and socially sound platform for people in need of genuine support and encouragement.
What is a Support Group?
A support group is a shared space created for a certain group facing similar issues in their life and need a safe space to talk about it without the fear of judgement. Every support group has a certain theme and criteria for who can be a part of it, to bring together people from similar backgrounds together and provide support to each other. All of this interaction happens in the presence of a facilitator, a professional expert who plays a vital role in comforting, guiding and encouraging the members to participate openly. At MentAmigo, these support groups are currently being conducted online, so that the participants can join from across the country easily.
How can a Support Group help you?
As social beings, we have an innate need for belongingness and support from others, especially during our tough times. Sometimes it’s not possible for people to seek that kind of support just with their peers or family members, and we may end up feeling lonely and helpless. Support groups help us broaden our horizon to seek support from people, make new connections that add value to your life, help you create a safe community for yourself to fall back on, learn from each others’ experiences and also gives you an opportunity to help others to the best of your ability. No, you don’t have to worry about any unsolicited advice here, our psychologist would mediate the conversation that encourages healthy discussions.
What exactly happens in a support group?
Members of a certain support group meet at regular intervals. There’s usually a theme of discussion, wherein people coming from similar or different backgrounds can share their own experiences, challenges, suggestions, thoughts and just support each other the best way they can. The discussion is moderated by a trained facilitator so that the group conversation has a certain structure and rich outcome at the end of it. Support groups are not just about seeking help, but also being there for others when they need you.
KNOW YOUR SUPPORT GROUP FACILITATOR
I found the sessions extremely helpful. I always felt it was a safe space to express my feeling and I was always sure going into a session that I will always learn of a way to improve upon myself. The pandemic and college being closed took a toll and the support group was instrumental in helping me adjust into the situation. I am extremely grateul for it and now that college has opened i feel ready and confident to embrace my college life.
- Jahanvi (Former support group member)
1. What if I'm not comfortable speaking up or turning my video on in an online support group? -> Although it is preferred that you turn on your video in an online support group as it helps in facilitating conversations better, assures the members of your presence and also understands each other's emotions well. However, if it feels uncomfortable for you or if there’s any logistical issue, you may discuss it with the facilitator and they’ll help you in the best suited manner.
2. Do I need to attend all the sessions if I sign up for this? -> Ideally yes, try to attend as regularly as you can because support groups are not just about seeking help from others but also showing up for them when they need you. In case you are unable to attend any particular session, please do inform the group facilitator beforehand via email or the mode of communication mutually decided by the group.
3. Can my friends join the same support group? -> If you think you and your friend(s) would be comfortable sharing in each other's presence, you can join the same group, else refrain from inviting anyone who could be a barrier in your comfort. You can recommend they join another support group (if there's an ongoing or upcoming one).
4. Do we need to pay for joining a support group? -> Yes, we do charge a minimal fee for the support groups run at MentAmigo, to sustain the project and bring you the best facilitators and resources for your betterment.
5. Who can attend a support group? -> Participation in a support group is usually based on a certain theme and target audience which can be limited to a certain age group, gender or a specific issue in question or might not have any such conditions as well and could be completely open to anyone. Kindly check the ‘Who can join’ section for each support group to know the entry criteria. This is done to keep the group dynamics consistent as per the need of that particular support group.
6. Will I be criticised or questioned for my decisions and choices in a Support Group? -> A well-facilitated support group proactively sets boundaries and expects participants to be empathetic towards each other and be respectful even if there are disagreements. In case you do feel uncomfortable in a discussion, you can openly share this with the group or the facilitator in private, as per your convenience, and they would take it further from there. In case the facilitator observes a certain unacceptable behaviour from any member, the necessary action would be taken as per the situation.
7. If I wish to drop out of the support group after a few sessions, would that be possible? -> A support group is a shared space for all the members of the group. If you feel you have made the most of this space and would not want to continue anymore, you can discuss this with your facilitator. However, it is suggested that you do continue with the sessions, if that's possible for you, as there may be other members who would want your support too. This space becomes a shared responsibility, and hence, it's advisable to take into consideration the group's collective benefit as well.
8. Will I get a refund if I drop out in between the sessions for any personal reason or not feeling comfortable with the group? -> You can ask for a refund BEFORE the last date of registration for each group. Once the registrations close and group sessions begin, no refunds shall be processed thereafter.
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