Service User Network (SUN)
The SUN (Service User Network) is a community support group for people with a personality disorder or complex emotional needs.
It is made up of people with experience of personality disorder symptoms or complex emotional needs.
SUN provides regular community-based peer support groups offering opportunity for people to share experiences and support one another in a non-judgemental and understanding environment.
What is Personality Disorder?
Personality disorder is a term which describes a set of problems that cause difficulties to a person and/or those around them over a prolonged period of time.
Those using our service will often be aware that they experience these problems and may have assumed nothing can be done or sought help in various places without finding much that makes a significant difference.
Many of these problems affect relationships and the ability to cope with stress. Feelings that can be hard to handle may lead to unstable mood, periods of depression or anxiety, and desperate attempts to feel better, including self-destructive behaviours, drink or drugs, or difficulties controlling temper.
Other problems can include anxiety being around other people, feeling unable to cope, having difficulty getting along with people and coming across as rigid or distant.
Although it is rare to experience all of these problems, those engaging with our service will often struggle with a number of them. They may also find it hard to maintain a tenancy, employment and/or relationships.
If these problems have been experienced on a long term basis, they are often referred to as personality traits, as they have become established ways of interacting, being and feeling. If problems like this have a significant negative effect on someone’s life, they may suffer from a personality disorder.
Not everyone who attends SUN groups suffer from a personality disorder, but everyone in the service has long term problems of the sort described above.
For more information on personality disorder please see the following links:
This service is for adults aged 18 and over who live in Buckinghamshire and are registered with a Buckinghamshire GP.
People accessing SUN typically experience a range of mental health difficulties including fluctuating intense emotions, low self-esteem and relational difficulties often associated with personality disorder.
Members are not required to have a formal diagnosis of personality disorder. Anyone who identifies with the difficulties above and feels the group may be useful is welcome to join.
SUN membership is through self-referral only. There is no formal assessment process and once you have completed the joining process by completing a Resource & Support Plan (RASP) you will be free to access the SUN groups as frequently as you need.
The RASP will be used to inform fellow SUN members how best to support you within the group as well as how you can best care for yourself outside of the group. The SUN group members will be on hand to support you with this during your first few group sessions.
Being a member or attending SUN groups does not exclude people from receiving support from other services (although it may be helpful to let them know you are attending SUN).
SUN groups are being set up in a variety of community venues across north and south Buckinghamshire. Virtual groups are also offered to people who would prefer this option.
The aim is that members will never have to wait more than three days between SUN group sessions.
As the offer expands over the next two years it is hoped there will be up to six groups running per week.
Groups are co-facilitated by a clinician and a peer support worker who has lived experience of mental health difficulties themselves.
Groups last about 2.5 hours with a short break between sections and are semi-structured.
- Aylesbury: Methodist Church Community Centre, Buckingham St, Aylesbury HP20 2NQ
- Chesham: The Bagnall Project, 71-79 Waterside, Chesham, HP5 1PE
- High Wycombe: Oasis House, George Street, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, HP11 2RZ
Each SUN group follows the below format:
- Check in:
A chance for members to give an update on their week and current emotional state.
- Support session:
A space for peer-led support, centring around difficulties brought forward by group members during the session. In addition, new members are supported to complete a Resource & Support Plan (RASP).
- Check out:
An opportunity for members to reflect on the session, to share their current emotional state, and to ask their peers for any additional support they may need to allow them to leave safely.
Phone: 01865 901 544 (SUN admin)
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Page last reviewed: 18 October, 2023