I run a voluntary mental health support group in Holyhead, Anglesey called ‘Let’s talk Holyhead.’
The group was set up in 2019 from my own personal experiences with mental health.
I was refused referrals myself even having had a diagnosis of my own, so started up the group, realising through sharing my own story and experiences how many others locally were also struggling and found the lack of support available to be disappointing. Like so many others I ended up on waiting lists for counselling, which I’m still on.
The more I spoke openly about my mental health, the more others felt they could too, there is still such a stigma to it and I want to break those barriers.
The group started off as small. meeting once a week on Thursdays at the Pod centre in holyhead Town centre, it started up as a simple tea, coffee & biscuits morning, but as more and more people began to attend the group I realised I needed to offer more.
I began organising weekly activities for those who attend to be able to partake in and this really helped the group grow, friendships began forming and it has become a real safe space for many.
Some of the activities we have offered are, mindful colouring, making our own tote bags, games morning, bracelet making, mini head massages from a qualified massage therapist who is also a member of our group! A beginners calligraphy morning from a local business woman. I bought ukuleles and have had a music therapy session. I buy materials and resources for the activities myself, and run purely on small donations and the kindness of others.
We have a counsellor who attends and is available to talk to anyone who attends in a private space if needed for free as well as people from the iCan project who will help people get back into work.
The ages of those who are a part of our group ranges from 17 to 60+
During lockdown I’ve kept in touch with group members via a private WhatsApp group, as well as scheduling in Zoom video calls to check in & chat as often as I can.
I have created care packages for group members, baskets full of essentials, books, hygiene products, multivitamins, as well as a few treats of course, then delivered to their door.
I’ve done my best in signposting anyone who was seeking further support during lockdown to relevant services using our social media accounts to make sure that anyone who may be struggling knows they aren’t alone & that ‘Let’s talk holyhead’ will always be there for them.
I’ve used my own time during lockdown to partake in online training such as mental health first aid training and suicide prevention training.
We’ve also just had confirmation of having an allotment space locally for our group which will be fantastic for us!
I hope to continue making our support group grow to the best of my ability.