There may be participants in your support group who cause problems for others by being aggressive, sending out rude or abusive messages or even making threats to the other participants. This is very serious because the behaviour of one participant can affect the rest of the group. Participants are members of a support group because they want to receive information, guidance and help – they don’t want to feel upset because of SMSs.

If you have a problem like this in your group, talk to the individual who is sending out abusive or disruptive messages individually. Ask them why they are sending the messages, and find out what the cause of their behaviour is. Explain to them that it cannot continue because it is damaging to the group.

If they wish to stay in the support group, they should send an SMS to the rest of the group to apologise and explain their behaviour. If the participant continues to be aggressive, they should be removed from the group and the rest of the participants should be informed so that they too understand that this is not acceptable behaviour.

Tell participants that they can report any abusive or aggressive behaviour to you as their mentor and that you will treat it in confidence. If you do get any complaints from other people, remember to keep them anonymous.