About Bipolar UK online meetings

Is an online support meeting right for me?

We appreciate that not everyone is familiar with technology, nor has access to the right kit. Therefore, please do not feel pressured to access this service – we have a number of other support services while face to face groups are suspended:

My face-to-face group is currently on hold. I would like to attend a remote session, but not sure if we have any locally?

You can find  local support groups on our online events page If your local group is not listed, you can join a national support group, which take place every month

How do I join a local or national meeting?

You can join a local zoom meeting by emailing [email protected] stating the name of the group you want to attend. You can register via this form for a national group. You may want to do both, we are happy if you do.

Are zoom meetings free?

Bipolar UK make no charge either our face to face groups or online ones. If you wish to make a donation, please visit our donations page

Can I use Bipolar UK’s zoom account?

Bipolar UK peer support zoom accounts are for volunteer use only. We aim to schedule a meetings calendar in order to enable more groups to access the Bipolar UK accounts.  

Questions about using zoom

Do I need a zoom account?

You do not have to have a zoom account to attend a zoom meeting. You will be prompted to download the software, once you have clicked on the link in your invitation. You may also wish to create an account, but that is optional, you can take part via your browser.

You should be comfortable with zoom as a platform and happy with the zoom privacy and security notice before agreeing to join a Bipolar UK zoom session. 

System Requirements

This is what you need on your device to get started with zoom

What happens at a meeting?

Five minutes before the time of your invitation:

  1. Click on the link provided in the email 
  2. Download the zoom Desktop Client. Follow the prompts to download the correct zoom desktop client for your computer and operating system. Your zoom Desktop Client will download.
  3. You will then need to install the client. Note that you may also download clients for IOS and Android devices. Once you have downloaded the desktop client, you can now join the meeting.
  4. You may have to click on the link again in the email to connect to the meeting, once you have installed the client. 

Please review the following additional support documents: Zoom US and Zoom support.

Can the host or anyone participating record a session?

No meeting should be recorded by anyone. If a recording is taking place, a red light appears at the top of the screen. Bipolar UK do not authorise or make their own recordings.  

Can you access a meeting via phone audio if you have no computer?

Yes you can, you will be admitted to the group in the same way as people using a computer or tablet. Please check you have the correct phone number.

What about privacy and confidentiality?

Bipolar UK take privacy and confidentiality seriously and you can read our privacy notice here We also ask that when signing into a Bipolar UK remote meeting you use your first name only. We also request you do not have visible items in your video background which can identify you or friends and family members to protect their privacy.

Do you remove anyone from meetings needing more support?

Not necessarily, it depends on the person’s presenting needs.

Bipolar UK will offer support in a 1-1 using the chat function or a breakout room where a host and co-host are present. If we feel the forum is not suitable and the person would benefit from more support off-line via their mental health team, crisis team or emergency services we will recommend they seek immediate local help. A list of crisis numbers are provided with the meeting invitation email.

What if a person is abusive or looks to have “zoombombed” a meeting?

We are aware external people have tried to disrupt meetings. Since the addition of waiting rooms and passwords, zoom has taken steps to reduce this option. We will only send to closed invite list and will use the remove function if we are concerned about a person(s) behaviour. We are not publicly advertising our zoom meeting details.

Bipolar UK reserve the right to refuse entry and to not work with people within our face-to-face groups or online who are abusive.

Can I attend regular meetings?

Yes you are welcome to attend online meetings and face-to-face meetings when they resume.  Please request you are added to the mailing list after your first meeting. 

Find out more about online support groups - read this interview with one of our pioneering zoom group volunteers.