NoBigDrama Peer Support Stage - Podcast Interview with Juraj Marendiak



How did the NoBigDrama project start?

It started as an idea of launching peer support groups for people with mental health vulnerability to fill the gap in support services network in the region of Bratislava, Slovakia. The idea has surprisingly won the 2018 CARe Europe Innovation Summit Idea Pitch Award and NoBigDrama peer support groups became reality.


How do the peer support group sessions look like?

They take place in a small community theatre, on chairs arranged in circle on the stage, spotlighted in the darkness.


The session starts with a small game and then we introduce ourselves. We don't talk about who we are, or where do we come from. We introduce ourselves through what we are here for, which allows us to put what connects us on the first place.


We only use first names, that don't even necessarily have to be real ones, unless you are authentic in your wish to be called by that name.


Are people feared or worried when entering the stage?

Sure.

We all are :)

But there is something that helps us to keep that place a safe one - our traditions. We don't have rules to be followed. You can't find there any flip chart with do's and don'ts on it. We have traditions, that you as a group member can decide to live by. The charming thing about traditions is, that only the vital ones do last. Among those that do last, is for example that we respect others, that we give advices only when asked to, that we speak for ourselves or that anyone is free to step back or leave at any time.


What else is going on there?

Reflection of success is also a part of the session's structure. To admit and to reflect the success you achieved, makes it a base to build on. The reflection of success then often sets up a topic that is then discussed and shared. We talk a lot, but actually there is a plenty of silence too.


And finally, being on a stage, we do play a lot. You should not imagine a dark and heavy blanket laying on us and making us choke. We aim for creating a safe and weightless atmosphere, where even heavy topics and experiences can be handled with a sort of ease.


Who can join the group?

Anyone experiencing a state or period of mental health vulnerability. We don't ask about one's diagnosis - it is the will to share time, place and your experience with other members what counts. The group is always open to new members, the session is free of charge and all you need to do, is just signing in for the session via web form, e-mail or phone.


What is your role?

Our role is just to go along with the group through the session. We leave our professional roles outside the hall. We believe, that the real professionals in coping with mental health vulnerability are the group members themselves.


Juraj Marendiak

CARe Ambassador in Slovakia

NoBigDrama Peer Stage




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