What’s it about?

Online connection and support group sessions facilitated by members of our team for people living and working with mental distress

Who’s it for?

People with personal experience of mental and emotional distress, family and friends, people bereaved by suicide, mental health workers

Who’s speaking?

Our facilitators are passionate about changing the script around mental health, challenging stigma and raising expectations.

About the groups

Coronavirus restrictions mean it is difficult to gather in person. Thanks to a grant from The Fore, we are running a series of online connection groups to support our community as we ease out of lockdown. We hope to transmit a little of the spirit of our physical gatherings, with a safe place of welcome and community, where you can strengthen connections and regain energy.

These eight, weekly connection groups will be held on Zoom. Each group will be a maximum of 10 people or families and lasts two hours. You’ll

  • be introduced to compassionate practices that are trauma sensitive and transformational
  • boost your well-being through building supportive relationships with people who understand a little of what you are experiencing
  • engage in dialogue and deep listening.

Register to join our founding series of 8 weekly Zoom connection groups. There is no charge for the series, but for those who can afford to donate, contributions are welcome and will enable us to maximise the grant, reach more people and run more groups.


For people with personal experience of mental and emotional distress

Online 11 Aug – 29 Sep, Tuesdays 6.00-8.00pm

Facilitated by Mirabai Swingler and informed by Intentional Peer Support, an approach designed by peers that is based on building mutually supportive relationships.


For family, friends and supporters

Online 13 Aug – 8 Oct, Thursdays 6.00-8.00pm (not 1 Oct)

Facilitated by Yasmin Ishaq and informed by Open Dialogue principles. This group may be especially useful for families with loved ones currently in the psychiatric system, or experiencing difficulties at home.


For people bereaved by suicide and other difficult losses

Online 13 Aug – 8 Oct, Thursdays 5.30-7.30pm (not 20 Aug)

This group, for people bereaved by suicide, drug related deaths, or adjusting to a difficult loss, will be facilitated by Malcolm Stern who is a parent bereaved by suicide, and a long time group psychotherapist.


For mental health workers

Online 11 Aug – 29 Sep, Tuesdays 6.00-8.00pm

Facilitated by Cathy Thorley and will be also be a reflective practice space, informed by Open Dialogue principles.


Our speakers and facilitators are passionate about transforming mental health and changing the script. All believe that with the right support recovery from mental illness can happen and a mental health crisis can be a transformative process.

Register to Join Us

There is no charge for the series, but for those who can afford to donate, contributions are welcome and will enable us to maximise the grant, reach more people and run more groups.

Kindly sponsored by The Fore RAFT Fund.

You will need to make a weekly, two hour commitment for the eight weeks, plus some check ins at the start and at the end of the process.

This series is made possible by a grant by The Fore RAFT Fund:

COVID-19 has forced us all to change plans, and the challenges we face are without precedent in living memory. But crises can also be a time for community cohesion. French sociologist Emile Durkeim discovered that rates of mental illness and suicide actually go down rather than up during war times, as a shared sense of belonging fosters solidarity in the face of a common threat. It has been incredible to see how this pandemic has already sparked the emergence of a UK wide network of local mutual aid projects, and people being motivated by kindness and compassion to look after their neighbours and communities.

Shoots of social renewal have grown alongside a sense of anxiety and isolation. Lockdown has especially tough for those of us already living with challenges, including people working on the frontline of healthcare, and those living with isolation and difficult mind states, or supporting someone who experiences emotional distress. Families have been separated from loved ones in psychiatric care, and from older people living in care homes. Some people have told us they have avoided seeking support for fear of contracting the virus. And organisations have suffered too, with many including Compassionate Mental Health, losing income as we are forced to put usual business on hold.

The Fore is part of the Bulldog Trust, and is a fantastic charity that launched its own rapid response to the coronavirus crisis. RAFT (Rapid Action by The Fore and Trusts) has provided a lifeline to hundreds of small charities and social enterprises thrown into crisis by COVID-19. Compassionate Mental Health is one of those organisations, and we have been given a grant by The Fore in order to enable us to move some of our services online.

Thanks to The Fore, we are offering a founding series of online Connection groups. This series is part of our larger work to call for a more integrative approach to mental healthcare – one that relies less on diagnosis and prescription drugs, and more on empowering the person, communities and social networks. At the heart of the project is a belief that it is possible to begin to heal oneself and others through the power of community, connection, self care and solidarity.

© Copyright - Compassionate Mental Health - Community Interest Company (number 11938822)