Friends in need – Croydon


On the 1st August 2016 Depression Alliance merged with Mind. Mind in Croydon is one of seven Local Mind Associations who will now deliver the Friends in Need service previously delivered by Depression Alliance.

What is Friends in Need?

Friends in Need is a social network for adults experiencing or in recovery from depression and/or anxiety.  It was set up to lift people out of the terrible isolation and loneliness these difficulties bring.  There are 8 Friends in Need services across the country which are hosted by Mind and hundreds of informal ones online.

The Croydon service is delivered by two coordinators and Mind employees Katie Oliver and Sarah Strong with funding from Croydon Talking Therapies (IAPT).  This serves as a great partnership offering Friends in Need access to clinical expertise via the therapists who deliver CBT based talking therapy and counselling via SLAM primary care services

Friends in Need is suitable for those accessing primary care services (GP/IAPT) who experience low mood, anxiety and or depression.  The service is not suitable for those experiencing serious mental illness due to peer support nature of the network.

Throughout the week Friends in Need members meet each other throughout the Croydon area (in café’s, churches, parks and Fairfield House) encouraging one another and focusing their attention towards various activities centred upon the evidence based 5 ways to wellbeing:


Activities include:

* Crafts (jewellery-making, mosaic-making and card-making)
* Poetry reading, writing, sharing
* Guided walks (always with a coffee stop)
* Pub quiz (most people are on the soft drinks)
* Gardening
* Keep-fit
* Cinema
* Trips out of Croydon
* Guest speakers and talks on specialist uplifting/practical help subjects
* Lots of coffee and chat

Coordinators run 2-3 group welcome meetings a month so newly referred people can hear about the service.  They can self-refer or be referred through another service such as IAPT, their GP or through Mind.

Members are encouraged to register with the ‘Friends in Need’ website where they can connect to others experiencing depression around the country as well as locally.  All the Croydon activities are uploaded to the Friends in Need Croydon section so members can click to ‘attend’ an activity or start a conversation about it.  Members of course then meet up offline as well as having the option of 24 hour connections online.

Some members have been with us for a number of years and now act as session facilitators, running activities on a regular basis.  Some attend every few months, some attend numerous times throughout the week.  Sarah and Katie do not attend every session but are in regular contact with the members and pop in throughout the week staying longer when accompanying a new member.

It’s a great service and helps so many to find strength, build confidence, make friends, find volunteering opportunities and jobs and give back to the network and the wider community.  We’re on a mission to promote it further throughout Croydon now that there are two of us and 2 volunteers, all with our own experience of depression and anxiety.

Know of anyone who can benefit?  Please complete the referral form below and send to

Referral Form