SUN (Service User Network) : Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

SUN (Service User Network)

SUN (Service User Network) is a new, easy to access community-based service for adults  experiencing difficulties with complex emotions often associated with personality disorder. These emotions can affect how a person feels, copes with life and manages relationships.

Who is SUN for?

SUN is for people who:

  • have been diagnosed with personality disorder or
  • would describe themselves as having complex emotional needs but have not received a diagnosis of personality disorder

Some of the issues a person may be experiencing, include:

How they think about themselves:

  • low self-esteem,
  • consistent feelings of emptiness and/or a lack of or uncertain sense of self,
  • difficulty in connecting with their own emotions,
  • setting themselves unrealistically high standards
  • difficulty with intense,
  • overwhelming or fluctuating emotions, or difficulty recognising or expressing emotions
  • feeling of behaviour being out of control and difficulty in setting and working towards goals

How they relate to other people:

  • difficulty in coping with or resolving conflicts
  • difficulty connecting or empathising with others,
  • difficulty finding a balance between own needs and needs of others
  • Current or previous use of alcohol or drugs to cope with difficulties

Know someone who might benefit from attending a SUN group?

Send them our leaflet.

What happens at a SUN group?

Attending a SUN peer support group helps people to get the support they need and gives them the opportunity to share their experience to help others. Each group meeting follows the same three stage format with breaks in between each stage:

  • Check In: People can talk about how they are feeling and what they would like to get out of the group.
  • Support Forum: A discussion about topics or themes raised at the Check In so people can share experiences and provide one another with advice. This is where new members complete a Resource and Support Plan (RASP) with the help of the group.

What is a RASP?

A RASP helps SUN to understand the needs of each SUN member and how to support them. It clarifies the steps you take to cope with stress and any challenges in life so that SUN knows how best to help you in times of crisis.  It also aims to support your general wellbeing and help you to plan ahead if you know you are going to be facing a difficult situation. Because SUN groups are about encouraging mutual support, the RASP also asks you to think about your role in supporting others and what may make this easier or harder at times.

Check Out: People can talk about how they are feeling at the end of the group and what advice they have received that they will be taking away with them.

The role of clinicians and peer support workers at SUN groups

A clinician and a SUN facilitator with lived experience will act as the facilitators for each group. They will introduce each session and ensure the group follows the set format. They will also participate in the discussions where this is helpful and where this is needed.

During the breaks, the facilitators will leave each session but you can choose whether or not you would like to remain in the group to talk to other SUN members.

All the work in SUN is done within the group as the peer support element is key. The facilitators do not spend individual time with members.

To find out more, watch our video with SUN members.


Everyone attending the group is asked to respect each other's confidentiality and to not disclose anything discussed within the group outside of the group.

How to attend SUN groups

Become a SUN member 

To attend SUN groups and to become a SUN member, you will need to be registered with a GP in Surrey or North East Hampshire. Please note that if you change to a GP out of this area, your SUN membership will be closed, however if you register with a GP in Surrey or North East Hampshire in the future, you will be able to register with SUN again.

To become a SUN member, complete the online membership form.

Please note SUN is self-referral only. If you do not get a response from us within 2 working days, please email us at or call 01372 216700 so we can support you to complete the referral via phone.

To complete the membership process, you will also need to fill in a Resource and Support Plan (RASP) at your first two SUN groups. Once completed, you will be an active SUN member and your membership will not be time limited. If you register and do not attend a group or do not complete a RASP within 6 months, your registration will be closed and you will need to complete the membership form again. 

Make an enquiry

If you have any questions about SUN that you would like answered before deciding whether or not to become a member, please complete the online enquiry form and our SUN admin team will get back to you. Alternatively, you can also contact us by emailing SUN admin at: or calling: 01372 216700.

SUN timetable

Once you have completed an online form for joining a SUN group, we will contact you to book you into a group. After you have attended your first group, the booking process is different depending on whether you want to attend face-to-face or virtually.

For face-to-face, you only need to book in for your first group and then you can drop into any face-to-face group at any venue. You can also drop into a face-to-face venue if you have previously attended virtually.

If you want to attend virtually, you need to book in for each group (we limit numbers on MS Teams to ensure everyone is visible on screen). We will send you an invite and instructions on how to join. Every time you book into a virtual group, you will receive a separate link, so please remember to use the right link for each meeting. You can attend a mixture of face-to-face and virtual groups if you wish.

Members are encouraged to let us know if they are unable to attend, as online SUN groups are very popular and only have limited space, so their space can go to someone on the waiting list.

Please contact SUN on for latest group timetable.

More information

Join a virtual meeting to find out more about SUN 

We hold a virtual meeting on the first Thursday of every month, from 11.30-12.30pm.  At these meetings, we will go into more detail about how SUN works and you will have the opportunity to ask any questions you have about the service.

To book onto a meeting, please email:

Watch our recorded virtual event

The SUN ethos 

SUN is based on best practice principles for running therapeutic communities like our peer support group: 

  1. Attachment - Healthy attachment is a developmental requirement for all human beings and should be seen as a basic human right. 
  2. Containment - A safe and supportive environment is required for an individual to develop, to grow, or to change. 
  3. Respect - People need to feel respected and valued by others to be healthy. Everybody is unique and nobody should be defined or described by their problems alone. 
  4. Communications - All behaviour has meaning and represents communication which deserves understanding.
  5. Interdependence - Personal well-being arises from one’s ability to develop relationships which recognise mutual need.
  6. Relationships - Understanding how you relate to others and how others relate to you leads to better intimate, family, social and working relationships.
  7. Participation - Ability to influence one’s environment and relationships is necessary for personal well-being.  Being involved in decision-making is required for shared participation, responsibility, and ownership. 
  8. Process - There is not always a right answer and it is often useful for individuals, groups and larger organisations to reflect rather than act immediately.
  9. Balance - Positive and negative experiences are necessary for healthy development of individuals, groups and the community. 
  10. Responsibility - Each individual has responsibility to the group, and the group in turn has collective responsibility to all individuals in it.

This is how we apply the principles

SUN empowers members to recognise and understand their own and others’ emotions and actions using verbal communication. Through this process of reflecting rather than reacting immediately, SUN group members can arrive at balanced decisions together. Members respect each other by adhering to a group agreement in order to avoid unsupportive behaviour. Working towards interdependence helps SUN members to create healthy attachments and relationships in a contained and safe environment. SUN facilitators and members support each other to maintain boundaries and stay grounded by sticking to the group structure with clear timings.
The SUN model is co-produced, and groups are co-delivered by facilitators with lived experience and clinicians. SUN encourages members to actively participate in the groups, as the facilitators do not bring an agenda but encourage members to agree collaboratively how the space will be used, which helps members to take more responsibility for their own and others’ wellbeing and care. SUN also encourages members to participate in business aspects of the model, such as joining us for presentations to share their SUN experience with prospective members and external professionals; or joining focus groups and business meetings to contribute ideas for service development and be actively involved in the integration of new ideas into the service.

​​About Personality Disorder 

Some may only have mild difficulties and seek support at times of stress, others may have more severe difficulties which impact their wellbeing, relationships and every day lives. It is important to say that even though a person's difficulties may be long standing, there is much that can be done to help.
You can find out more about personality disorder here:
Royal College of Psychiatrists

Data sharing 

Our health professionals only collect the personal data required to ensure a person receives the support they need. For more information about how data is held, please go to our information sharing page.

Member feedback 

"Talking about my problems makes me feel like I have now put them in a box. I have never attended a group like SUN before." 

"This group is really helping me, because otherwise I wouldn't be talking to anybody about anything. It always helps me to hear how people cope and their strategies." 

"There's no other place like SUN. Only place I've ever felt 100% accepted." 

Also see more information on:

Delivered in partnership with Community Connections
Hide this section
Show accessibility tools