A bench area in Walkden shopping centre has been set up to offer support and be a place for people to open up and talk about their struggles with mental health.
Mike Richard, CEO of Talk About It Mate, said: “loneliness and isolation is probably the biggest thing at the moment, we’ve gone through this pandemic together and there’s a lot of people who maybe live alone, can’t get out or can’t access things online, that can really benefit from just chatting, being in the community, where they feel comfortable in a shared space.”
Talk About It Mate, an organisation that specialises in peer support, specifically men’s mental health, are guests at Walkden ‘Chatty Benches’ to offer an extra helping hand for the local people in need of support.
Walkden Town Centre, ‘Start Inspiring Minds’ and the Dispensary shop, set up ‘Chatty Benches’ to give people in their local area the opportunity to connect with one another.
Fay Watts, owner of the zero-waste dispensary shop in Walkden shopping centre, suffers from many of her own mental health problems.
She told us why she values her involvement in the Chatty Benches organisation: “The NHS is over stretched, people can’t afford therapy … but talking, talking about things is so important and some people don’t have anyone to do that with.
We just want it to be a space basically where, if you’ve got a problem, just be here, tell us about it, we’ll try and help, we’ll try and refer you to the right people.”
Talk About It Mate aren’t the only guests Chatty Benches are hosting this week. Tomorrow there is a community connector visiting.
On Thursday Eamonn, a lifestyle coach from Beyond Empower, is visiting to work with disabled people that are over 16.
Talk About It Mate, also host their own peer support groups. ‘Talk About It Mate’ is specifically for men struggling with their mental health. And ‘Talk About It Women’, was launched after the men’s support groups were such a success.
Mike believes that: “anything that can bring people together, that’s a free to access, with good listeners, that’s really important. I think it can be done its lots of public spaces.”