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Permission to Dream: peer-support plans

Posted December 8th 2020 by Dani

Permission to Dream blog cover, with clip art of planets and astronauts

Permission to Dream

“Each one of us can make a difference. Together we make change.”

Quote by Barbara Mikulski

Peer support in strange times

The Permission to Dream project has never been more relevant than this year.

Its aim is enabling and encouraging people to support each other to improve their mental health and wellbeing. The pandemic has impacted on everyone’s mental health and we don’t know when it will end and what the long term consequences will be. Redesigning the project to fit with the ever changing restrictions has been an interesting challenge.

We have been using video calls, phone calls, door stop chats and outdoor sessions to keep in touch with people. And – importantly – to help people keep in touch with each other.  Some of the peer groups are using messaging apps to connect and support each other on a daily basis.

'Digital connection enables access to information, ideas, support, opportunities and community!'

Connecting in nature

The Scottish Government has recognised the value of peer support and it’s now possible for groups to meet again, providing safety guidelines are followed. We’ve been exploring different outdoor locations in our communities, to try and find safe solutions which work for people. Read our guest post over on ALLIANCE’s blog about Permission to Dream, and how community gardens and food banks can enable peer support.

We are starting up some new peer support groups at the moment, with different focuses. We have just launched a walk and talk group, which is helpful for people who are working from home and feeling overwhelmed. It encourages people to take a proper break, get some fresh air and make connections with others in similar situations. Our wonderful local parks greenspaces are the perfect setting! We’ve had to wrap up warm, but the benefits for wellbeing and connection and huge.

Peer-support dreams for 2021

We will soon be starting a wellbeing conversation group and are planning groups based around art and craft activities. Different things work better for different people, so creative and flexible approaches often help for including everyone who might be interested in peer support. We have lots of peer support plans for 2021, and it looks like it will be a big year for peer support all round. More than anything, we’re looking forward to seeing how it unfolds – it will depend on the people we meet and what their ideas are too!

Whatever happens, peer support around mental health is going to remain a vital resource for an ever growing number of people. Together, we can get through this.

Photo collage, showing a wintery park and 3 smiling people

Take a look through our resources page for peer-support tools on different topics – from gardening, to being part of a LGBTQ+ family, to mental health and wellbeing!

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