salford walking group

A peer support organisation is to set up a regular Salford walking group in the new year.

‘Talk about it mate’, who run events throughout Salford, offers peer support, shared spaces, well-being workshops and 1-1 therapy.

Set up three years ago by founder Mike Richard, ‘Talk about it mate’ initially ran as a charity for three years before operating as an organisation from 2019.

Experiencing some issues with his own mental health in his 20s, Mike had no one to turn to and was diagnosed with depression at 18.

Feeling that there weren’t many support structures around at the time, he didn’t want anyone to go through what he went through.

Initially setting up a number of coffee talks and bowling nights, It was at the end of 2019 that the organisation saw a real shift towards demands for formal services and support.

With Covid-19 forcing Talk about it mate to transfer their support groups online, the organisation aims to transfer their online support groups to create a physical presence within Salford.

Picture of “Walk about it mate” trial in October. Permission sought by Talk About it mate, Mike Richard.

Trialling a number of social distance walking events back in October when restrictions were eased, the organisation now aims to run a regular walking support group from January 2021.

Admitting that the walking group may start with a limited number, Richards hopes that the group will increase in numbers, as more people discover the events.

Explaining more about Talk About it mate and the plans for the organisation in the new year, founder Mike Richard set out what is planned.

The effect that Covid-19 has had on the mental health of the population is a concern, with the Government recently releasing a report on the impact of the pandemic.

A recent report by the Office for National Statistics looked at the mental health of adults over the period of 11th to 29th November.

The report found that almost half of adults (48%) reported that their well-being was being affected by the pandemic. This increased to 81% for those who had experienced some form of depression and/or some form of anxiety. (ONS, 11th December 2020).

On publication of the report Tim Vizard, Principal Research officer commented: “Our research today shows that one in five adults in Great Britain experienced some form of depression in November.

“This is similar to levels reported earlier in the year, but double that reported before the pandemic”.

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“I think there is a movement in that area and I know there is a commitment to putting more young people’s counsels in there.

“But, having been a primary school teacher for ten years, I think a lot of it is about role models and also modelling an emotional language and literacy.

“Just getting children to identify their feelings and say why they are feeling them, could just be a really good start from the early years.

So we build it up, so there won’t be any stigma about talking about feelings.”

Talk about it mate also plans to relaunch their podcast next year, Initially interviewing members of the local community about their own struggles with mental health.

From January onwards, the new series aims to model what happens in men’s peer support sessions. Each episode discusses a different topic, with Richards hoping that the podcast will open a discussion for men who may need help.

It is hoped that the new series can help men who may not be willing to attend a peer support session, find the confidence to ask for help.

Talk about it mate plans to launch their first Salford walking group session on Friday 8th January in Monton.

For more information on Talk about it mate and the support they offer, you can visit their website here.

For emergency support on your own mental well-being and health. Samaritans have a helpline on 116 123.

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