Stevenage mental health support group is encouraging open talk

PUBLISHED: 08:30 11 April 2019

Stevenage mental health support group Stand By Me is encouraging people to talk about their problems. Picture: Pexels.

Stevenage mental health support group Stand By Me is encouraging people to talk about their problems. Picture: Pexels.

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A mental health support group set up in Stevenage to help men open up about their psychological struggles now has close to 3,000 members.

Stand By Me was founded by Ross Gormer in January, with members meeting regularly at Bedwell Community Centre to support each other through a variety of issues, which could include depression, addiction, marriage problems or work-related stress.

Now the group offers women-only meetings as well and Stand By Me has more than 2,950 members on its Facebook page.

Stand By Me administrator Hayley Long, who lives in Stevenage and has been battling her own mental health issues, said: “The group has lifted off and has seen hundreds of men openly talking, and everyone is pulling together. From this, there is now a women-only group too.

“The lives we’re saving together is incredible and is having an incredible knock-on effect.

“Stand By Me is smashing down the stigma. Men are not weak if they cry or talk about their struggles with mental health or life problems.”

The stigma surrounding mental health is also being tackled by high profile figures such as Prince Harry, who disclosed in 2017 that he had sought counselling 20 years after his mother’s death, having come close to a complete breakdown several times.

Stand By Me’s men’s and women’s meetings are held on alternate Mondays. The next meeting for men is on Monday. April 15, and the next meeting for women is on Monday, April 22. All meetings are held from 7pm to 9pm at Bedwell Community Centre on Stevenage’s Bedwell Crescent.

Hayley said: “These groups offer hope, help, support and a chance to make new friends. It’s the community working together to help each other.

“One lady said her life was saved thanks to the support she recieved. We are actively saving lives and encourage anyone to come along. There is no pressure to talk.

“We want the message to get out there far and wide. You are never alone. We will support and guide you and this feeling will pass.”

To attend one of the meetings, just turn up on the night. For more information, or to join the support group online, search for ‘Stand By Me Stevenage’ on Facebook.

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