People who join SUN are offered access to regular peer support groups where they can talk about their experiences, discuss issues that are worrying them and receive advice as well as provide support to others. The groups are facilitated by clinicians and peer support workers.
SUN is available to anyone aged 18 and over who is registered with a GP in Surrey or North East Hampshire who feels they would be benefit from this support. The service is being delivered by our Trust in partnership with Community Connections Surrey.
Who can benefit from SUN?
SUN is for people who:
- have been diagnosed with personality disorder and who are looking for increased support in the community to help them manage their condition
- would describe themselves as having complex emotional needs but have not received a diagnosis of personality disorder
Some of the emotional and behavioural issues a person may be experiencing:
- 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
- feeling of behaviour being out of control
- difficulty with personal relationships: for example difficulty in coping with or resolving conflicts, struggling to connect, difficulty finding a balance between own needs and needs of others
- current or previous use of alcohol or drugs to cope with difficulties
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.
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.
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.
What is the role of clinicians and peer support workers?
A clinician and a peer support worker 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 on the virtual call to talk to others in the group.
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.
How to participate in SUN groups
To attend SUN groups, you will need to become a SUN member. To do this, simply contact SUN admin and ask for a Welcome Pack. This will include a membership form. Once this form is completed and returned to SUN admin, you can then book on to your first group. You can contact SUN admin either by email: email@example.com or by calling: 01372 216700.
To complete the membership process, you will need to fill in a Resource and Support Plan (RASP) at your first two SUN groups.
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.
Where are SUN groups held?
SUN groups are currently being held virtually due to the Coronavirus restrictions. Once these have been lifted, groups will also be offered in person.
Once you have completed and returned your membership form, SUN admin will send you a Microsoft Teams invite and instructions on how to attend your first SUN group. To ensure the virtual groups work well, SUN admin will manage the number of people attending each group. This is why you will need to book a place at each group you wish to attend.
We are currently running three groups a week. These are held on:
- Mondays, 2pm-4.30pm (North West Group covering Woking, Runnymede, Spelthorne, Elmbridge)
- Wednesdays, 10am-12.30pm (South West Group covering Guildford, Waverley, Surrey Heath, North East Hampshire)
- Fridays, 10am-12.30pm (East Group covering Mole Valley, Reigate and Banstead, Epsom and Ewell,Tandridge)
The groups have been divided into geographic areas so members know where these groups will take place once we are able to provide them in person. We encourage SUN members to join the groups that are the closest to them but they are also welcome to attend groups that are not in their area if they are more convenient.
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.
About Personality Disorder
At any given time, about one in twenty people will have a 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: