People experiencing difficulties with complex emotions that affect how they feel, cope with life and manage relationships can now easily access support in the community with the launch of SUN (Service User Network).
SUN Groups are for people with complex emotional needs that are often associated with personality disorder or aspects of this condition. It is estimated that, at any given time, about one in twenty people will have a personality disorder. Some people may only have mild difficulties and seek support at times of stress, others may have more severe problems which impact their wellbeing, relationships and everyday lives.
SUN is based on an established and successful model of care that offers adults access to weekly peer support groups where they can share experiences and provide each other with help and advice. It is provided by Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust in partnership with Community Connections Surrey, a third sector provider that offers a community mental health and emotional wellbeing support service.
SUN groups are facilitated by a clinician and peer support worker. They can be attended by anyone aged 18 and over who is registered with a GP in Surrey or North East Hampshire (Rushmoor and Hart Boroughs). A person can refer themselves to SUN by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org. and asking for a SUN membership form. They do not need a diagnosis of personality disorder to join SUN groups.
Sindhu Vazhappulli, Clinical Lead for SUN at Surrey and Borders Partnership, said: “We believe this easy-to-access service will offer people who become SUN members a space to share their experiences with their peers in a way that will support them to feel empowered to manage their difficulties.”
There are several SUN Groups each week, all of which are currently offered virtually due to Coronavirus restrictions. More information about SUN and when these groups are held is provided at: www.sabp.nhs.uk/sun.
Patrick Wolter, Chief Executive of Mary Frances Trust, one of the lead providers of Community Connections Surrey, said: “We are thrilled to have been involved in the planning and delivery of SUN. What’s really special about the service is that members are encouraged to take control of how they manage their emotional and psychological wellbeing. They can attend the peer support groups whenever they want and for as long as they find it helpful.”
Some of the difficulties a person who has personality disorder or aspects of the condition may be experiencing include:
- low self-esteem, consistent feelings of emptiness, and/or a lack of or uncertain sense of self
- difficulty with intense, overwhelming, or fluctuating emotions, or
- difficulty recognising or expressing emotions
- personal relationship issues – such as difficulty coping with or
- resolving conflicts, struggling to connect with others
More information about personality disorder can be found at: www.nhs.uk/conditions/personality-disorder