Welcome back to That’s What Pea Said…
Today, I’d like to introduce you to an innovative, online service which I’ve recently become involved with: The Mental Health Crisis Angels. Following the completion of my first year of Counselling Studies, my tutor suggested I became involved with voluntary counselling and as I’m already involved with the mental health community on Twitter, this seemed like the perfect opportunity and fit for me.
The Crisis Angels are a voluntary group which aim to support those who are struggling with their mental health by providing peer support via Twitter Direct-Messaging. The Team also raises awareness of mental health issues and to end the stigma and misconceptions surrounding mental health and mental illness.
As you’re probably aware, many people suffering with poor mental health, or a mental illness have very limited (if any) access to support, especially at the times when they need it most. There are already many kind-hearted individuals who open their DM’s/Inbox to provide a listening ear – however, nobody is available 24/7 and rightly so. Everybody has the right to threat their personal health and wellbeing as a priority..
You can’t poor from an empty cup.
Working as a unit, the MH Crisis Angels are able to offer to support without an individuals being solely responsible and although UK based, the Angels are based around the world and therefore, there is usually somebody who is available to chat. Waiting times are still too longer and the team are able to offer guidance and during this time, alongside when an individual is receiving professional treatment.
In addition to the support chats (which I’ll explain below), the team raises awareness and actively fights the stigma surrounding mental health and share motivation messages, offering support to those in need.
If you are feeling like you may require support, but are feeling a little hesitant, there is honestly no need… The chats are initiated in the following way:
You will contact the account, expressing your need for help
You will then receive a response asking you to confirm that you’re over 18 and you will be asked if you’d prefer to speak with a male or female angel and which name you’d preferred to be called (this can be fake).
Once you have confirmed the above you will be assigned a chat.
The chat will contain 2 angels and the MH Crisis Angel account.
You’ll then be given a prompt which will conformably initiate the chat.
From here, the Angels will be able to listen to you and offer support.
The chats includes multiple Angels to ensure the responsibility doesn’t fall solely onto one Angel. This also means that if an Angel is unable to answer, the supporting Angel can pick up the chat. The presence of the MH Crisis Angels account ensures that all chats are carried out in line with the core values.
Once your chat has been created, you can return at any point if you require further support, providing you don’t leave the chat, this prevents the delay of an account being created and prevents a delay to support.
The Crisis Angels don’t offer more than peer support, they don’t have answer or cures and they’re not in a position to offer advice. Throughout your chat, the team will remain transparent and will remind you that they’re unable to offer advice, or tell you what choice to make and they’ll ensure you understand that they’re not suicide intervention. If they feel you are at risk, you will be directed to the relevant professionals who can provide the treatment you need.
Boundaries are discussed with all Angels and each member is assigned a support chat, so they do not become overwhelmed or suffer burnout whilst providing support.
The service doesn’t offer telephone support and if this is something which you feel you require, you’ll be pointed in the right direction.
The Angels offer support and a listening ear, they give individuals are place where they can be heard. The service allows individuals to understand and talk through their thoughts without feeling judged, or like a burden. The team allow individuals to explore their thoughts and come to their own realisations, whilst ensuring they’re pointed in the direction should they need additional support.
In order to implement safeguarding, the chats are carried out with multiple Angels and the MH Crisis Account. This protects all parties involved and ensures everybody is on the same page throughout. Everything discusses within the chat will remain confidential, and only one user has access to the MH Crisis Angels account, with oversees all team members & the chats which they’re taking part in.
The MH Crisis Angels hold a variety of skills, qualifications and experiences. Some of these include: having a personal experience of living with mental health issues, or experience of supporting a person(s) suffering with mental health issues. The team may have experience of living with a physical difficult, or caring for an individual who requires physical support. In addition to this, some Angels have management experience, or have a basic psychology/counselling qualification. The team also offer support from those who have experience of working with offenders, drug addicts or may have attended or run a peer support group.
If you think you’d like to get involved with the team or require support, please contact the team here:
Thanks for reading,