I have been thinking a lot lately about how the stigma of mental illness and problems that people face on a daily basis. Some of these problems are ones that we have no control over but support is needed to address how we react to problems of multiple consciousness. I’ve been inspired to do this by things I have experienced over the past several months.
- Supporting a long distance friend online through problems they are facing.
- Exploring the idea of W.E.B. Dubois’ Double Consciousness and it’s expansion into Multiple Consciousness in a Sociology course I am taking.
- My own mental health problems, My desire to talk to and help other people like me.
- My progress in self realization and self acceptance through properly addressing my mental health. (Which happened very rapidly and suddenly.)
- My interest in peer-support for people who suffer from addiction problems. Peer support works and everyone with a problem can benefit from it but not everyone fits into the mold of what these groups entail.
- The witnessing of how much progress can be made when there is a voice for people especially on social media. One big voice can connect with many people. This may or may not be part of The Reach Group but it has inspired me either way.
- My own experience with a men’s therapy group that I have participated in for several weeks as of today’s date.
That is a lot. And yes, these are all things that I have directly experienced within the past 4-5 months. Why have these things happened so quickly? I don’t know. What I do know is that by taking these things in so quickly it’s made me want to explore the idea of putting a purpose behind it.
There are very few support groups available for people who don’t necessarily fit into the idea of alcoholics, trauma survivors, over eaters, or whatever labeled problem that warrants 12-step based recovery groups.
Ideally, this is for the people who go to work day to day, live their lives and don’t know how to manage their emotions the way they want. They shield themselves from others, they feel down on themselves, and they feel the pressures placed on by gender expectations or society.
I don’t have a fully fleshed out plan but I would like to start my own group and tentatively, I am calling it The Reach Group. TRG will not be a 12 Step Based program but I might define some steps to help identify problems and how to get their solution into order. I would also like to have a basic text for this group as well.
In addition to the things above, I also want this group to be modern beyond what typical peer support groups are. I want it to have in person meetings as a group would normally have and I also want an online element to it also that is not public social media. We are not anonymous but we are confidential and I want a private space for people to meet online. I have started setting up the online element by way of a discord server and it will be used to host online meetings, general support and chat, voice conversations and help coordinate in person group meetings.
We will have principles, we will have set values, and these values and principles will be flexible so that they reflect what is currently needed at any given time. We are not set in stone. We are not rigid. We will have a sponsorship element.
As mentioned in my list above, peer support works. It is incredible to be able to talk freely and understand when you know people who face the same types of problems that you face. There are various support groups provided by community health organizations world wide and of course there are 12-step based programs that address mental health issues outside of addiction. These types of groups are not for everyone. Even so, peer support groups are few and far between in my area and I intend to develop something that is accessible to many people.
I will continue to develop this idea in a separate blog so that I can actually define what we are doing, what the group is about, and how we will help one another. The Reach Group MOV Blog