Support groups are core to Mental Health UK’s work. They provide invaluable spaces for members to come together to share experiences, speak openly about challenges and share information. The results can be astounding with members often trying new things and feeling more positive.
Groups to help reduce the isolation and loneliness that can come from having a mental illness. Even carers can be cut off from society and their local communities because of the impact of both caring and the stigma associated with mental illness.
The groups also provide a safe space for people to speak openly and without discrimination and can be impactful for those who live in areas where there is a lack of wider support and services. Group members are encouraged to build on their strengths, share what they know and learn from others
The types of groups vary according to the needs of its’ local members. They range from sport and leisure to gardening, cooking and even dog walking. Groups often meet to hear speakers to help them navigate the mental health system.
Support from Lloyds Banking Group has allowed us to open 40 new support groups in communities cross the UK by the end of 2019. The estimated reach is 2500 people who weren’t accessing support previously.
Group members have told me how their own emotional well-being is affected by their caring role and coming to a group gives them hope, positivity and strength to carry on.
The group has helped me feel less isolated and lonely, encouraged me to make friends, learn about other people and pick a hobby of knitting which has given me much joy. Coming to the group has made me smile and laugh which I haven’t done for many years. The group has made me aware that I have been suffering in silence with depression.
Having struggled for many years with our daughter’s mental illness, it was a revelation and relief to talk to others who understood. It was good to share our experiences and pass on helpful information to others too.