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Support group plea

Buckinghamshire Mind

Buckinghamshire Mind is launching a vital new peer support service for people with mental health problems in Bucks, following the huge success of the service in East Berkshire. The mental health charity is expanding Friends in Need, which has had extremely positive results in East Berkshire, to benefit residents of Buckinghamshire. The new service is being funded by a grant provided by national Mind.

Friends in Need is a friendly peer support group that helps members to manage their depression and anxiety by trying uplifting, fun and free-of-charge activities. The groups provide a supportive and inclusive environment for members to come together with others who have had similar experiences.

One person said: ‘If I hadn’t found Friends in Need, I would still be at home, shopping online, sitting and not washing my hair or showering for weeks. In May, I was suicidal but now I am starting a new job. Coming to FiN has given me back my self-confidence, got rid of my feelings of worthlessness and given my self-esteem a boost. Being open about my depression within the group has helped me to be open in my interview so my new employer knows about my mental health problems, which is a relief.’

Activities include:

  • Local walks, picnics and barbecues
  • Orienteering
  • Arts and crafts
  • Yoga, tai chi and Zumba with Sport in Mind
  • Cycling
  • Gardening
  • Social evenings such as pub quizzes, games nights and meals out together
  • Mindfulness for deep relaxation
  • Guest speakers
  • Monthly day trips to local attractions such as museums, historic buildings and temples
  • Photography walks
  • Mind the Note (singing group)
  • Learning how to use technology for wellbeing with Discovery 3

A peer volunteer for FiN said: ‘FiN has given me a sense of purpose and of being part of a community where my presence and contribution are valued. This, in turn, has helped alleviate my chronic feelings of low self-worth and low self-esteem, which are the main triggers for depression for me in the past.’

Buckinghamshire Mind identified the need for peer support groups in the county following the completion of a research project it carried out last year in a link-up with Healthwatch Bucks. The resulting report was a key factor in securing the funding to expand Friends in Need in to Buckinghamshire.

Thalia Jervis, Chief Executive, Healthwatch Bucks, said: ‘Our Mental Health Peer Support Report was the result of an extensive piece of work we undertook with Buckinghamshire Mind, which placed user experience at its core.  We are very pleased that our work has helped to generate funding for this important new service. We look forward to seeing the difference it makes to improving wellbeing in Bucks.’

Friends in Need East Berkshire has been run by Buckinghamshire Mind since August 2016 and covers Windsor, Ascot, Maidenhead, Slough and Bracknell. The service is set to expand into Buckinghamshire in May.

Debbie Workman, Friends in Need Team Lead, Buckinghamshire Mind said: ‘We are really delighted to be able to expand our Friends in Need service into Buckinghamshire so that we can help people with mental health problems in the county to continue on their recovery journey. We’re very grateful to national Mind for awarding this grant.’

Find out more:

To join find out more about Friends in Need, call Debbie Workman on 07964 376 951, email debbie.workman@bucksmind.org.uk or visit www.bucksmind.org.uk/friends-in-need


April 29, 2018