Yesterday I attended an information meeting on the Service User Network (S.U.N) in Wandsworth, which is a peer support service that aims to help people cope specifically with personality disorder and emotional/behavioural difficulties. The service aims to empower service users so that they feel more supported and less excluded from the community. It was insightful seeing how meetings are run, through role play, and how members feel supported. For instance each group runs for two and a half hours and is divided into three parts: ‘check in’, main part and ‘check out’. It was also interesting to note that health care professionals had travelled to Wandsworth from other parts of the country to see for themselves how the service runs.
The S.U.N network helps people to access other services when needed but I was struck by some members saying that they no longer access mainstream mental health services. The service also aims to help users to learn new coping strategies, with the ultimate aim of people having fewer crises.
You can read a leaflet about their services here. You can enter the network by self-referral. It is worth noting that the service operates an open-door policy and you can complete a Crisis and Support plan in a S.U.N. group in order to become a member.