Group Guidelines

We are an informal peer support group, operating with the intention of creating a safe, non-judgmental space for people to come and connect with others who may be going through similar experiences. This is a place to share personal feelings and experiences, triumphs as well as difficulties.

The way our groups work is that we begin with a check-in from each person. This can include things like: your name; what you’re studying or things you like to do; how you heard about Kaleidoscope; what brings you to Kaleidoscope; how you’ve been feeling lately; etc. Please share only what you are comfortable with; no one is obligated to share.

Kaleidoscope is a growing support network and some of us have been longtime attendees, so you may notice that we seem to know each other quite well; however, we are a very welcoming community, so please don’t feel left out — keep coming!

What we ask of you:

  • Please listen when others are speaking. One person speaks at a time.
  • We would like to give everyone an opportunity to share, so please limit your check-in to a reasonable length, depending on how large the group is.
  • After check-in, the floor is open for discussion on any topic the group chooses: it can be coming back to something someone mentioned in check-in, it can be answering a question someone asks the group — anything!
  • If check-in goes until time runs out, and one or more people don’t get a chance to check-in, you’re welcome to stay and chat with facilitators for a few minutes after group, or check-in first at the next meeting.
  • If you are late, please wait in the waiting room. We will admit you into the room after the person currently sharing has finished.
  • Please refrain from giving unsolicited advice. If you think that sharing your personal experience may provide insight or assistance to another attendee, please ask them first if it’s okay. We’d like members to feel comfortable sharing without fear of having “quick fixes” for our experiences, or being “told what to do.” Sometimes listening is the best response.
  • Kaleidoscope is like Las Vegas: what happens in Kaleidoscope stays in Kaleidoscope. It is important that we respect the confidentiality of people’s experiences. You’re welcome to take what you’ve learned, but please leave the specifics and identifiable information about other members.
  • While Kaleidoscope attendees may develop friendships with each other, please respect a group member’s decision to keep relationships with other group members within the group setting only. Please do not feel pressured to share your personal contact information with other group members, or to connect on Facebook or other social media platforms. 
  • Please, also, do not openly talk about Kaleidoscope with another attendee in public without discussing this with them first. Again, this is to respect privacy and confidentiality.
  • Limits of confidentiality: when necessary, facilitators may consult each other outside of meetings to discuss any concerns that happened in group, and support each other to provide facilitation to our best ability.
  • If you are feeling suicidal, or wanting to hurt another person, this is the place to talk about it. We are here to help. However, please be mindful that detailed descriptions of this topic (e.g., methods, plans) can be upsetting for others in group.
  • We are not trained professionals and are not qualified to discuss suicide in great detail. We can refer you to other programs that provide this type of service.
  • Please note: if a Kaleidoscope member mentions or alludes to suicidal ideation or serious harm to others, our facilitators will offer to speak further about this during check-in, or after the group, if preferred.
    • Our facilitators also reserve the right to break confidentiality if we are concerned that you pose a real threat to yourself or others.
  • If you are in crisis, please call 911 or 1-800-SUICIDE.
  • Please do not come to Kaleidoscope while you are under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.
  • Please avoid sharing graphic details that may be sensitive for others (e.g., drug and alcohol use; self-harm).
  • There are many peer and professional supports for alcohol, drug use, and self-harm in the community (e.g., AA; NA; SMART recovery; SHARE)
    • SHARE is a support group at UBC for individuals who have struggled, or are struggling, with self-harm. SHARE meets on the 1st Monday of each month from 6-7:30pm. Location and any updates will be posted on
  • Any harassment within the group will not be tolerated. You will be asked to leave.

Please check our website, Twitter, or Facebook page regularly, in case we need to cancel group or change the meeting location. We try to post cancellations within 24 hours of the start of group.

Roles of the facilitator:

  • Facilitators are at meetings to contribute to the discussion, and to ensure that the group guidelines are followed.
  • All of our facilitators identify with having some kind of lived experience with atypical mental health.
  • We are not specially trained or certified professionals.
  • We do not give medical advice.
  • We take a neutral stance towards the myriad of mental health treatments. We do not favour any particular type of treatment over any other.
  • We are experts only in our own recovery, not in anyone else’s. What works for us may not work for you.
  • We are knowledgeable about other resources in the community and can refer you to other programs, if requested.

Emergency phone number: 911

BC-wide Crisis Line: 1-800-SUICIDE

UBC Campus Security: 604 822 2222

If you have any questions or concerns about the guidelines, please don’t hesitate to ask now (in group) or email us:

 Updated September 7, 2019

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