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Introducing the Holders' Journey

When someone experiences extreme mental and emotional distress and altered states, often called psychosis, the experience is usually witnessed and supported by their family and friends.​ 

 

We describe people experiencing distress as experiencers, and the people who support them as holders.

Holding the holders


Experiencers and holders share a complex and often difficult journey together. Holders frequently feel overwhelmed and find themselves struggling to cope with the many emotional, physical, financial, relational and social challenges that being in this supporting role brings.

 

That’s why we offer online peer support groups for family members and friends.

 

Understanding the experiences of holders

- a research study

Although intimately intertwined with the experiencer’s journey, Safely Held Spaces sees the holder’s experience as a journey in its own right.

 

But we don’t yet know much about what it's like for friends and family who give their support, or how their experience changes over time. That’s why we are conducting research to better understand and describe the holder’s journey, and to influence the kinds of support that are available for holders.

Our research study runs from March-August 2021 and consists of an online survey, which aims to gather up to 100 responses from family members and friends, followed by a smaller number of in-depth interviews.

 

Findings will be available from September 2021 and will be shared with friends and family groups, and with influencers, mental health services and other organisations supporting family and friends. They will also be submitted for publication in a peer reviewed journal.

 

If you would like to receive updates on the progress of our Holders Journey research, get involved in disseminating findings, or to find out more please contact us.