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Black Dog Club (Read 24073 times)

shark

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Black Dog Club
January 20, 2021, 03:39:56 pm
Stemming from the Black Dog mental health thread Ive had chat with Lagerstarfish (Rob) and heís up for leading a weekly zoom session for UKBers who having a rough time currently or ongoing.

Rob has prior experience of this and will post separately outlining his experience with mutual/peer support groups.

The BMC are kindly letting us use their Zoom account and the plan is to hold each session every Thursday @ 9pm starting tomorrow night.

We think a dozen or so regular participants is a good number to start with but hope for the group size to increase when we are used to the tech and the style of the group.

Because it is intended to be very interactive anonymity within the Group is not possible so it is vital that what is said in the sessions remains totally confidential. Itís ok to discuss outside the meeting what was learned, just not who said what. Meetings wonít be recorded.

Each meeting will start with all participants introducing themselves and discussing how their week has gone. Rob will then pick up on themes and issues to discuss with the Group - lockdown/Covid related issues will probably be most relevant as that is what we all have in common.

Expected time for each session is 90 minutes with a midway tea and pee break.

At the end Iíll message asking for feedback so we can improve the sessions going forward.

If you want to participate drop me a PM and Iíll send you an invitation link to the meeting.

For potential safeguarding purposes can you also send me your real name, postal address and phone number.

lagerstarfish

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#1 Re: Black Dog Club
January 20, 2021, 04:45:49 pm
Cheers Shark.

So, I have 16 years experience running different sorts of groups within substance misuse services, all of which have involved discussing varying levels of mental health problems. Some groups have been straightforward "teaching", but the most successful have always involved talking to each other, comparing experiences and sharing coping strategies - talking and listening to each other. I have no experience running groups via video link.

I left substance misuse services almost a year ago and am not running any other groups at the moment. I will be running this group as peer support - looking after each other. I am not a mental health professional, but have a lot of experience supporting people through mental health services as well as having my own experiences of poor mental health.

There is a lot of information available on mental health and wellbeing and trying to find the relevant stuff can be really hard. Hearing another individual explain what has worked for them is a great way of getting motivated to make changes, especially if they have described experiences similar to ones own.

In my experience, there is a difference between saying something in words and typing something. There is something about using our voices that conveys feelings and thoughts very differently to typing - tone of voice, incomplete sentences, gestures, general spontaneity - this is what I hope we will get from Black Dog Club. There is also a lot to be gained from the experience of being listened to.

There are obviously significant limits on what help can be provided through such a group - I'll keep a check on what we're doing and where we think we are going.

For those of you who haven't been part of a group like this, it will probably take a bit of getting into - talking can be hard to start with. Just introducing yourself is a perfectly fine start. You will get a feel for what else you want to say as the group goes on.

Structure wise - a check-in at the beginning works well. I will introduce myself and for the first session, I'll start by saying how my week has gone and what issues I've been up against. Then I'll select someone else to do the same.

While people are talking it is natural to want to show support or ask for clarification - I encourage this and we'll have to work out how best to do this. Every group is different in this regard - we will develop our own way of doing this, I'm sure. Questions and support can be typed and will (I think) be visible on the screen - Shark will be keeping an eye on this as I will be concentrating on what is being said. I guess hand signals for support will evolve as we go on.

After each person has checked in I may ask my own questions for clarification and will also ask for people's thoughts/responses - this will hopefully be brief, but I'm not ruling out the possibility that (as long as everyone is involved) we might enter into a bigger discussion of issues.

After everyone has checked in, I will point out a few common themes that I have noticed and propose one for discussion - we may cover more that one so that everyone is involved.

At the end of the meeting I'd like for everyone to say what they have coming up in the next week - good stuff and potentially bad or difficult - again people can offer support or idea on how to cope/deal with these things.

I'm used to groups of up to 25 people, but would feel out of my depth trying that many online for the first time. I anticipate that after people have got know the structure and I have got to know them, adding more numbers to the original group will be fairly easy.

I'd appreciate it if people didn't turn up pissed or drink alcohol on camera.

We'll discuss how we feel about people turning up late, but generally I don't have a problem with this as long as we don't spend too long repeating ourselves.

I'm sure there's loads I should be saying here, but I'm a bit short of time right now - I'll write more thoughts later


oh, please ask any questions you have about Black Dog Club here

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#2 Re: Black Dog Club
January 20, 2021, 05:34:43 pm
Great idea Rob - and thanks for facilitating Shark / BMC.

Andy F

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#3 Re: Black Dog Club
January 20, 2021, 05:40:23 pm
Fabulous idea everyone  :2thumbsup:

lagerstarfish

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#4 Re: Black Dog Club
January 20, 2021, 05:45:09 pm
Something I just thought of - please don't anyone think that your difficulties are too minor or "not bad enough" to justify attending BDC. Peer support is particularly good for preventing problems getting worse. Also, the things that you have done to stop your problems getting really bad are probably just the things that other people need to hear about.

On the other side, whist the group won't be able to "cure" major mental health problems or be a substitute for treatment that you are on an enormous waiting list for, it could be just the right place to find out how other people cope or get by whilst suffering similar problems.

lagerstarfish

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#5 Re: Black Dog Club
January 20, 2021, 05:47:10 pm
Great idea Rob - and thanks for facilitating Shark / BMC.

not my idea

well, the details are mine, but it was Shark who approached me first

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#6 Re: Black Dog Club
January 20, 2021, 05:48:57 pm
Something I just thought of - please don't anyone think that your difficulties are too minor or "not bad enough" to justify attending BDC.

I think it's fair to say the black dog comes to us all. Thanks for setting this up guys, great idea.

lagerstarfish

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#7 Re: Black Dog Club
January 20, 2021, 05:55:48 pm
I said about check-in being about how people are today and over the last week, but this is not a rigid timeframe. It's there to help people think about how they are.

As Shark said - Covid and lockdown (not being able to climb) related stuff will be relevant to us all, but discussion is not limited to this - plenty of us have problems that were already there and they may need explaining for context.

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#8 Re: Black Dog Club
January 20, 2021, 07:05:44 pm
other things I should say...

It's OK to turn up and not speak - it's better if you do, but if you need time to get used to it, that's fine. I will still keep you involved by asking you if you want to contribute and a shake of the head is an absolutely acceptable answer.

Humour is allowed - it can be very helpful to laugh at ourselves. Obviously be careful with humour - the safest use is with respect to your own situation, but even then it might not be received the right way by someone else. I've caused some monumental messes through inappropriate use of humour, but it has been worth it for the good laughs we've had in groups when it's gone right (usually does work out fine). I anticipate that video meeting will make this a whole lot harder to judge.

Swearing - if used appropriately is fine. If anyone has difficulty with hearing sailor talk, please tell us and I will be stricter on it. Sometimes swearing is the best way of explaining how you feel. We will not swear at each other.

We will disagree with each other at times - be nice, treat each other with respect. Usually this is stated as "disagree with the opinion not the person".

I will not tolerate hate speech. Its fine to admit to having beliefs and ideas that others may strongly disagree with, but chose your language and attitude carefully. I will help with this.

The level of confidentiality is important to get right and for everyone to feel comfortable with their understanding. Better to err on the side of privacy if in any doubt. This will be discussed in the group. It is understandable and not unusual for people to stay quiet or leave a group because they don't feel able to share due to confidentiality issues. Things that can be communicated outside the group include how you felt about it, any helpful techniques or tips you learned (but not who told you). It's fine to tell people about what you yourself said in the group.

Do not record the event.

Please think carefully what you disclose - we will be a bunch of fragile climbers with varying degrees of resilience; some things might be too difficult for some of us to hear. If you are unsure, ask via PM before the group. I'm thinking of things like details of self harm, abuse, violence, accidents. I will stop people if I think what they are saying will have a serious impact on those listening. If you find what you are hearing too difficult, put your hands over your ears and make sure I can see this on camera.

You don't have to wear a mask.

You don't have to ask to go to the toilet.

Please think about whether it is appropriate for your speakers to be switched on (who else can hear) or whether headphones might be better.

Eye contact is going to be tricky - cameras being in a different place to the video image of the person talking - we'll all do our best to deal with this oddness.

kelvin

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#9 Re: Black Dog Club
January 20, 2021, 09:08:25 pm
I wanted to say thanks and well done for doing something concrete.
Currently, my PTSD has reared it's head following last week, when my partner's 16 year old daughter trying commit suicide three times and on Friday she was admitted to a local mental health ward. It's been a week.
Anyways - it's proper good to hear you guys are helping people during what's a shit time for many.

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#10 Re: Black Dog Club
January 20, 2021, 09:18:27 pm
I wanted to say thanks and well done for doing something concrete.
Currently, my PTSD has reared it's head following last week, when my partner's 16 year old daughter trying commit suicide three times and on Friday she was admitted to a local mental health ward. It's been a week.
Anyways - it's proper good to hear you guys are helping people during what's a shit time for many.

Shit.
Hope sheís good.
Hope youíre both good.

lagerstarfish

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#11 Re: Black Dog Club
January 20, 2021, 09:24:25 pm
I wanted to say thanks and well done for doing something concrete.
Currently, my PTSD has reared it's head following last week, when my partner's 16 year old daughter trying commit suicide three times and on Friday she was admitted to a local mental health ward. It's been a week.
Anyways - it's proper good to hear you guys are helping people during what's a shit time for many.

that's way worse than my week

you'd be welcome to come along tomorrow

lagerstarfish

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#12 Re: Black Dog Club
January 20, 2021, 10:06:57 pm
I know it looks like I listed a lot of rules, but it will be a pretty informal chat between a bunch of climbers.

I would rather that people just say what they think/feel and leave me to moderate if required. I'm just aware that the group thing will be a bit of an unknown to many folk here, so want them to know what to expect from my input.

kelvin

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#13 Re: Black Dog Club
January 20, 2021, 10:11:24 pm

that's way worse than my week

you'd be welcome to come along tomorrow




Shit.
Hope sheís good.
Hope youíre both good.


She's safe. She's been prescribed Olanzapine alongside trebling her antidepressants, so I'm guessing the current thinking is that she might have schizophrenia or bipolar, which feels somewhat a relief, as I was concerned she might be BPD like my sister and niece.

And I'm okay. Lay awake last night thinking about some CBT I had years ago and today was much better. Heart rate is back to normalish after a day when I was expecting a flashback any moment.

Cheers for the offer tomorrow, it's really appreciated but I'm genuinely okay - depression has never figured in my life and the PTSD happens along rarely. But thank you.

shark

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#14 Re: Black Dog Club
January 21, 2021, 11:40:20 am
Not had any takers for this evenings session - appreciate it was a bit short notice. Hopefully there is some take up for next Thursday.

To reiterate what Rob said it is intended to be an informal sharing  of thoughts, ideas and experiences.

I hope we didnít put anyone off with the rules but we felt it important to protect all concerned and be open about it from the outset.

Drop me or Rob a PM if you have any questions or concerns.

shark

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#15 Re: Black Dog Club
January 21, 2021, 01:38:38 pm
We've got a taker  ;D so the inaugural meeting of Black Dog Club takes place tonight.

PM me if you'd like to join in.

lagerstarfish

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#16 Re: Black Dog Club
January 21, 2021, 10:39:21 pm
Good first meeting.

Just a small group, but enough to show that the tech works.

I'm looking forward to next week.

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#17 Re: Black Dog Club
January 22, 2021, 02:24:28 am
Great idea Rob - and thanks for facilitating Shark / BMC.

not my idea

well, the details are mine, but it was Shark who approached me first

Very, very well done, both of you.
 :clap2:  :2thumbsup:

+1 both of course, which feels like a bit of an insult for such a fantastic effort.

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#18 Re: Black Dog Club
January 22, 2021, 02:43:33 am
Good first meeting.

Just a small group, but enough to show that the tech works.

I'm looking forward to next week.

Well done to everyone who participated.  :clap2:

Can I raise something? UKB can seem very "masculine" in it's catchment/appeal, and I hope other people don't find that too much of an obstacle or discouragement to taking part in and contributing to such a great project.

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#19 Re: Black Dog Club
January 22, 2021, 08:51:47 am
Can I raise something? UKB can seem very "masculine" in it's catchment/appeal, and I hope other people don't find that too much of an obstacle or discouragement to taking part in and contributing to such a great project.

Speaking as a rabid feminist: the "masculine" catchment might actually be a good thing? There's still a lot of stigma attached to talking about mental health stuff and seeking support for men (patriarchy hurts men too, etc.). And I know it can be isolating if you seek support and end up as the only guy in the room.

Having a group which tends to skew male might be a helpful and positive thing in terms of encouraging and creating a comfortable environment for people who might otherwise have a harder time reaching out.

(And there's not a shortage of mental health resources and support which skew female.)

Personally, I do badly in group settings (it's just not for me), so will not be joining, but I'm cheering from the sidelines because it seems like a fantastic idea.

shark

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#20 Re: Black Dog Club
January 27, 2021, 01:56:34 pm
A reminder that next zoom meeting is on Thursday at 9pm again. Message me for zoom link.

Iíve also posted an invite for members on the Black Dog Outdoors Facebook page
https://m.facebook.com/BlackDogOut/

lagerstarfish

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#21 Re: Black Dog Club
January 29, 2021, 12:14:29 am
Another good meeting tonight

We're still a small group, so plenty of space for others to join in.

If anyone one is feeling unsure about coming along, feel free to bring a friend. I mean, not necessarily in the same room as you, but someone you know on the same zoom meeting. Supporting friends can join in as little or as much as they want (it's a good, easy chat).

Something we have found is that using a headset with headphones and a microphone works really well - don't worry if you don't have one, but it does make the group chat a bit easier.

I'm still not used to the lack of proper eye contact. Doesn't stop us listening properly though.

I'll have a think through common themes that we have discussed and post something to give people an idea of what has been happening and what to expect.

There was quite a bit of positive chat tonight.

As you might expect, the talk regularly drifts towards climbing and training. Felt like it was totally appropriate.

A bottle of beer did appear. Fortunately it was 0% alcohol and the group felt this was acceptable.

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#22 Re: Black Dog Club
January 29, 2021, 03:26:12 pm
This is a fully brilliant idea, well done Rob and Simon, I hope it catches on and that it really provides a stable and beneficial post for those who are having a shit time.

It may even be nice for those who are not currently having a shit time to join too and lend an ear!

Can I raise something? UKB can seem very "masculine" in it's catchment/appeal, and I hope other people don't find that too much of an obstacle or discouragement to taking part in and contributing to such a great project.
Speaking as a rabid feminist: the "masculine" catchment might actually be a good thing? There's still a lot of stigma attached to talking about mental health stuff and seeking support for men (patriarchy hurts men too, etc.). And I know it can be isolating if you seek support and end up as the only guy in the room.

Yeah, as someone keen to champion diversity and point out sausage-fests, I actually agree that having a male-dominated environment could be beneficial. One way to erode toxic masculinity is to have the courage to show emotions, and normalise showing emotions, in amongst a group of men. A lot of men don't know how to or are afraid to ask for support. It's easy to say "just talk about it" but if society places a high, false value on being a manly man and manly men don't show emotions, then it can be a highly intimidating barrier.

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#23 Re: Black Dog Club
February 04, 2021, 10:59:01 am
A reminder that this is happening again tonight. PM me if youíd like to join in

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#24 Re: Black Dog Club
February 04, 2021, 10:58:43 pm
Thank you to those at the group tonight - we did pretty well, putting complicated feelings into words.

A good mix of climbing and other life related things to talk about with a broad spread of experiences.

I'm looking forward to next week.  :2thumbsup:


 

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