Candle exists to make peer to peer mental health support normal, informal and effective. That means we enable emotionally intelligent conversations to happen earlier than usual with support given by non-clinical therapists.
Support through Candle is given by level 1, level 2 and level 3 responders. As a responder, you will receive sms and email alerts when the person you support lights their candle. You can use the context given to prepare accordingly and find a good time in your schedule to give support, if you’re unable in the moment.
Individuals lighting Candle’s will typically have several people in their support organisation and personal circles, so remember the responsibility to give support isn’t just on you.
The services available to responders include this giving support page, Candle’s Accredited MHFA training and soon to be live, Lighthouse our clinical listening content library.
For any further questions – please don’t hesitate to reach out to the Candle team.
Candle defines a level 1 responder as an individual added to Candle to give support, who has taken the time to read our baseline advice on giving support. A level 2 responder is an individual who has received MHFA training from an accredited institution either through Candle's channels or a third party. A level 3 responder is indeed a trained clinical professional, a licensed therapist or counsellor either added by the individual or by their organisation.
This can get a little complex by way of sincere individuals wanting to do more than they might be qualified to do.
Please understand in giving support, you aren’t required to “fix” or “solve” problems or people, nor should you feel mandated to give support when you’re not feeling strong enough. Case by case, Candle works with partners to define a clear line for responders to hand off support to professional clinicians. That said, a level 2 trained MHFA will have resources to help most individuals move through initial stages post crisis and will likely be able to help in a majority of circumstances.
A good question to ask is - Can we help this person in half an hour to one hour and offer
them a space to unload, strategise and move forwards?
Confidentiality and consent are critical to successful peer to peer support. Here's an example of what a responder could say at the beginning of an engagement.
"In order to keep you safe, everything you tell me is confidential. However, if during your
conversation I believe that you are at risk of harming yourself or others, or at risk of harm by
someone else, then we will need to find you additional support.
During our call, if I have concerns about your safety, I will discuss this with you. Keeping you
safe may mean contacting emergency services or other organisations. I may, with your
consent, bring our organisations safeguarding lead into our call to ask them to call emergency services if
your life is in danger.
If there are concerns about your long- term mental health, we will talk to you about getting
some longer -term specialist support.
Are you OK with that?"
Giving Support - Level 1
When someone lights their candle, it may be the first time they’ve ever initiated this kind of interaction. This means it’s also possible that this will be the first time they’ve ever articulated their feelings, thoughts or experiences.
It will likely take time to understand them. It will likely be very difficult for them and its possible that their words won’t flow easily or make total sense. A good way to look at this is to liken it to a task that involves finding 12 counterfeit £50 bank notes in a stack of 100. In order to find the counterfeit notes, you will have to place every single note on a surface and inspect each one carefully. Thats the only way to get to a place of understanding. Likewise, some expressions and utterances may not make total sense or flow.
Be patient and supportive, understand each other and in time progress will prevail.