Empower Your Mental Fitness Journey: Prompts to help you identify what to talk about in a Peer Group
Have you ever felt lost and overwhelmed, not knowing where to turn for help?
My name is Reed Walter, and in 2015, a peer group program saved my life.
At that time, I had just gone through the worst breakup of my life and was struggling to cope. I turned to alcohol, which led me to a series of traumatic events, including being raped by multiple people when I was blacked out. I hit rock bottom, feeling suicidal, and standing on the edge of a building, contemplating ending my life.
In that moment, I decided to give therapy a try and reached out for help. Although it took four weeks to get an appointment with a counselor, I was fortunate enough to be offered a spot in a peer group program led by a counselor a few hours after my call. That peer group program gave me the hope and strength I needed to turn my life around. It took me four months to openly discuss the traumatic experiences I had gone through, but the support I received from the group was and continues to be invaluable.
That's why I started RiseGroup in 2019 – to give more people the anchoring and hope that a peer group program can provide.
Since then, I've facilitated 250 peer group sessions as part of RiseGroup. Engaging in peer support groups can be a powerful way to improve your mental fitness and overall well-being. By reflecting on your experiences and sharing them with others, you can gain valuable insights and learn from the challenges and successes of your peers.
In this blog post, we'll guide you through a series of questions to help you identify topics to discuss during your peer support group sessions. I recommend keeping a journal to accompany your peer group program. This can be a written journal or as simple as the notes app on your phone. Each week, select a few questions to reflect on before you join your peer group session. The questions below are some of the most effective questions I have found. I recommend writing a few of these down that you resonate with so you can come back to them easily. By the way, you can ask yourself these questions before ANY conversation about mental health to help you prepare.
So open up your notes and let's get started on this empowering journey together!
Discover Your Inner Growth: A Personal Life Check-in
How has your personal life shaped your mental fitness? The ups and downs of everyday life can greatly impact our mental well-being. Reflect on these questions to understand how your personal life has been influencing your mental fitness and uncover areas for growth:
Have you faced any challenges in your personal life recently?
Have there been any notable accomplishments or milestones?
Have you made any new connections or strengthened existing relationships?
Have you been struggling to balance your personal and professional life?
Explore Your Emotional World: Understanding Your Mental Landscape
What's going on in your emotional world? Your mental and emotional state plays a crucial role in your overall mental fitness. Consider the following questions to evaluate your emotional well-being and discover patterns in your emotional landscape:
How has your overall mental and emotional state been over the past two weeks?
Have you experienced any unusual stress, anxiety, or depression?
Have there been any specific triggers or events that affected your mood?
Building Your Mental Fitness Toolkit: Coping Mechanisms and Self-Care
How well-equipped are you to handle life's challenges? Effective coping strategies and self-care practices are essential for maintaining mental fitness. Reflect on the following questions to assess your current coping mechanisms and self-care routines, and identify areas for improvement:
What coping strategies have you been using to manage stress or other emotions?
Have you discovered any new self-care activities or routines?
Are there any areas where you feel you could improve your self-care practices?
Navigating Success and Growth Opportunities: Work or School Experiences
What have you learned from your recent work or school experiences? Challenges and successes in your professional or academic life can impact your mental fitness. Consider these questions to explore your work or school experiences and identify valuable lessons:
Have you faced any challenges or successes at work or in school recently?
Are there any upcoming deadlines, projects, or events that you're worried about?
Have you learned anything new or gained new skills in your professional or academic life?
Charting Your Path to Personal Growth: Goals and Aspirations
Are you on track to achieving your dreams? Setting and working towards personal and professional goals is an important aspect of mental fitness. Reflect on these questions to evaluate your progress and share your aspirations with your support group:
Have you made progress towards any of your personal or professional goals?
Are there any new goals or aspirations you'd like to share with your support group? Have you experienced any setbacks in achieving your goals?
Read, Set, Grow: Embrace the Power of Peer Support Groups
Embarking on a mental fitness journey and participating in peer support groups can be transformative, as I've personally experienced. Remember, you're not alone – sharing your challenges, successes, and aspirations with others can provide the hope, strength, and support needed to thrive.
In this blog post, we've explored a series of questions to help you reflect and prepare for your peer support group sessions. By taking the time to engage in self-reflection, you'll be better equipped to create a supportive environment where everyone can learn, grow, and develop their mental fitness together.
So, why not take the leap and unlock your potential for personal growth and well-being? Get involved in a peer support group today and discover the power of shared experiences in your mental fitness journey.