User and Peer Support Meeting at Bapu Trust

The need

All of us have experienced periods of psychological distress or disturbance at some point in our lives. For some of us it may have been triggered by an event. For others it may be a persistent living experience.

During these period support from our immediate surrounding of family and peers may or may not be forthcoming. If the support is accompanied by "shoulds", "musts", or if the helper is uncomfortable "being with" distress or disturbance, the support will be less than helpful and positive. Traditional mental health services on the other hand often labels distress and disturbances as ‘illness’. This view often inhibits the positives and potentials of the human spirit. For instance, the distressed persons might be capable of supporting another distressed person or creating "works" or be capable of discovering meaning in the distress or disturbance itself.

The invitation

Hamsayeh is a space for individuals experiencing distress or disturbance.

It is a living space that individuals can use to be with themselves, their distress, their God or their “voices”, without a sense of apology.

It is also a psycho-social space for individuals to be with and connect with peers. Peers are people who have had similar experiences and who have a special interest in supporting each other. Connecting with peers helps break down the sense of isolation accompanying distress and disturbance. It also evokes hope and comfort critical for insight and for making choices that lead toward healing and self-recovery.

It is a safe place. This means the space is free of lecturing, advise giving, judging, evaluating and labeling. Since, what is helpful for someone might not be helpful to someone else, so in this space, what is helpful is mutually decided between the people offering it and those accepting it.

In this sense, it is a therapeutic space, although no therapy of any kind is practiced here. In this space, there are no professionals, experts nor patients. There are fellow humans sharing each other’s experiences and “stories” while supporting one another to make positive new movements.

Hamsayeh is a peer support initiative of the Center for Advocacy in Mental Health, (CAMH) a mental health advocacy, research and training organization. It grew out of the center's interest in self-advocacy and community based alternative to psychiatry.

The Venue:
Address: CAMH, Plot No 9, Survey 50/4, Kapil Villa, Satyanand Hospital Lane, Opposite Konark Pooram, Kondhwa Khurd, Pune – 411048

Tel : 020-26837644/47

Schedule for Peer Support Group Launch at CAMH

Day: Saturday
Date: 12th July 2008
Time: 11:00 a.m.
Venue: CAMH premises

Activity Speaker/Facilitator Time
Welcome/Introduction to CAMH & ‘Hamsayeh’, Sachin 11:00 -11:10

Introduction to Gabor Gombos, Ahmed 11:15 -11:20

Key note: Peer support group perspectives, Gabor Gombos 11:30 -12:30

The Origins of Peer Support Group Work at CAMH, Bhargavi/Ahmed 12:30 -1:00

Open Forum: Reflections, Questions & Dilemmas, Gabor Gombos 1:00 -1:20

Ritual to invoke & launch the space, Ahmed 1:20 -1:30

The launch will be followed by lunch at 2:00 p.m

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