Group sessions can help improve mental health

A woman who has suffered all her life with anxiety is urging others to be brave in taking control of their fears.

Friday, 23rd December 2016, 5:00 am
Updated Saturday, 24th December 2016, 9:30 am
A group therapy session takes place.

The woman, who wished not to be named, turned to Washington Mind for support for her low mood and anxiety.

And after being encouraged to join a support group based at its Life House, she is now branching out to taking part in other activities.

It was a step she once feared due to her condition and other medical problems. But after finding the strength within to making the first move, she hasn’t looked back since.

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As well as arts and crafts sessions, she enrolled in a Tai Chi course for beginners and is now taking part in more social activities.

She said: “I first came to Washington Mind to access some counselling for my low mood and anxiety. It was my counsellor who suggested I try some activities to get me out of the house and mixing with new people.

“I joined a support group, but on the first session, due to problems with my hearing, I found it difficult when people were having conversations so I left the session.

“But I was followed out by the community engagement worker, who offered to sit with me for the first few weeks.

“From that day I have fully embraced Washington Mind and have accessed a range of groups and activities.

“I eventually joined an arts and crafts group and this really helped to build my confidence and I have gone on to facilitate the group.”

The woman is now encouraging others to find out what is going on in their local neighbourhoods and not be worried about making taking that step.

She added: “Washington Mind has been my lifeline. The staff are a passionate and dedicated team of caring professionals. I feel privileged to be part of such a wonderful organisation.”

According to a report published by Mind depicting a theory ‘Life Support’ - it recognises support generally comes from not the health system but also from a patchwork of local community services providing advice, information and social contact or life support.

Life Support promotes practical help with day to day living that people with mental health problems often need in order to stay well and live a full life.

Jacqui Reeves, services manager at Washington Mind, said: “Christmas can be a lonely time for some and often community groups are a lifeline for people who are socially isolated.

“Washington Mind provides a number of groups that aim to provide people with a level of support that they can help them to rebuild social skills, increase confidence and self-esteem and be actively involved in our community reducing loneliness and isolation.

“When funding allows we develop and deliver new groups in a variety of community venues that can help us to socialise whilst taking part in a beneficial activity.”.”

Mind promotes the five ways to wellbeing.

These include: Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning and Give.

Our series of articles in the run-up to Christmas, supported by Washington Mind, aims to encourage people to reach out to others and let those struggling know support is available.

Today, people are asked if they have a scarf/hat/gloves that you don’t need to tie them to a tree or post and leave a message saying if you need this - please take it.

For information on the five ways to wellness or activities available visit

Some of the projects provided by Washington Mind include the charity’s Creative Arts group and Creative Minds sessions including book folding, napkin art and card making; and working with Bryson’s animal shelter to take dogs for a walk.