LETS spaces exist in whatever form the community needs, though all LETS spaces are equipped with the same, basic guidelines and principles. LETS spaces offer peer-run support groups, where you will find comfort and direction in a confidential and supportive setting, and where you can make a difference in the lives of others.
The selection of services offered differs by each space, depending upon the needs of its participants — but usually includes some form of body-based movement (yoga or meditation), psychoeducation, coping skills, sharing stories + questions, hearing from speakers, and learning about ourselves and those around us. Most support groups are volunteer run and provide self-help through facilitated meetings (they are not group therapy). In addition to participating in the group meetings, you will meet people from your community who can relate to your experiences. You may learn valuable information about mental health professionals and services in your area, as well as tips and techniques others use to manage their illness. Some LETS spaces run their own newsletters, lending libraries, and special events. Some offer information on mental health professionals in your area or upcoming mental health legislation in your state.
- Facilitated by a Peer Mental Health Advocate or person who is trained by Project LETS, Inc.
- Focus on Self-Help: Each person has the ability to make appropriate use of available resources to meet their own needs. Some people may utilize this ability more fully than others, but it is present in everyone. All of us together know more than any one of us. Everyone has value and has something to add to a group process. Each person is the ultimate authority on what they need and on what will work for them.
- Peer-Led: Discussion at support group meetings is facilitated by a group participant, and this is important to the group’s smooth functioning. The facilitator guides discussion, provides focus to the group, and helps ensure that the group’s guidelines are followed.
- Safe and Accepting: Participants make the support group a safe place by fostering a supportive, trustworthy, respectful, non-judgmental, and nurturing atmosphere. All those attending share experiences that can help others live successfully with mental illness. People use information they’ve gained from others at the meeting and the mental health professionals they work with to make their own judgments about correct strategies for themselves.
- Confidential: Open and honest communication is important to a positive group experience. Support groups operate on the following premise: "What we say here stays here.” No one may publicly reveal information about the people attending the group or what is said during a meeting. Exceptions to this policy are made only when the safety of an individual is in danger. Participants are not required to be members or provide personal contact information if they do not wish to do so.
- Meet Regularly: The group determines how often, when, and where it meets. LETS support groups try to meet once a week.
- Free of Charge: Support groups that are part of a LETS space must hold meetings that are open to the public and free of charge. No fee is required to attend. Groups may request optional donations to defray meeting costs, such as refreshments, or may establish optional group dues to be used for group-related purposes (for example, to place an advertisement in a local newspaper or publish and mail a newsletter), but attending the support group must be free of charge.
* LETS spaces can be held anywhere in the community! Libraries, coffee shops, community centers, on college campuses, etc.
Benefits for Clinicians:
- Improved treatment outcomes through support
- Reduced hospitalizations and acute episodes
- Empowered, motivated, educated patients
- Natural supports to motivate adherence
How We Help LETS Spaces:
- Referrals to your community’s chapter and support groups via the LETS Lifeline, our website, e-mail, etc.
- Regular informational communications filled with resources and ideas for chapter growth and improvement
- Tips for developing effective groups, including ways to expand and share leadership of the chapter
- Free or low-cost copies of select brochures and publications from LETS
- Leadership training opportunities through regional and national meetings, online learning tools, video conferences, and other training possibilities
- Opportunities to connect with chapter leaders and facilitators from around the country to share successes and brainstorm solutions to difficulties
- Use of the LETS name and logo, which will identify your group as part of our growing organization
- Access to materials that promote the benefit of LETS support groups in publications and the media
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in creating or facilitating a LETS Space in your community.