We are all ‘Stronger Together’ when we take ‘Time to Talk’

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John Blewitt, of Stronger Together North Worcestershire

This Thursday 1 February is Time to Talk Day.

The day is all about creating supportive communities by having conversations with family, friends, or colleagues about mental health.

John Blewitt together with his wife Tash has been giving people in Wythall and Hollywood the opportunity to talk about mental health since September 2018 with their group Stronger Together.

John and Tash decided to start Stronger Together because John had struggled with his mental health throughout his life. After he reached out and received help, he wanted to help others around him to talk about their mental health and feel more connected.

John said: “I’ve had depression on and off all my life. I got lucky and got help from my GP and had great support from my family. I started Stronger Together so that I could help people around me who keep their worries to themselves, just like I used to. In our activities sometimes we talk about mental health, sometimes it’s just about having fun in a supportive environment. It’s not just Tash and I who support people, other members of Stronger Together also run activities too. And we want this to grow even more.”

Stronger Together started by hosting a meeting at Wythall library on the first Saturday of the month between 2pm and 4pm. This meeting has gone from strength to strength and is very popular.

People can now also attend Yoga sessions the second and fourth Monday evening of the month in the School Hall at Coppice School. There’s then an opportunity to have a cup of tea and a chat afterwards.

An important part of Stronger Together is getting together to socialise and connect with likeminded people. One member organises a entering a quiz team at an event at Wythall House on the first Monday of every month.

With the help of a small grant from Public Health in Worcestershire, Stronger Together have been able to expand their support in the area and bring the community together over the past year.  

The group recently put together a mindfulness workshop at Hollywood Golf Course and John plans to run more sessions on different aspects of mental health later this year.

They now also support people who feel they could benefit from counselling but need a helping hand to try it out. Working together with a professional counselling service, Stronger Together provide local people with three free counselling sessions, so they can see if counselling works for them.

Councillor Karen May, Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Health and Wellbeing at Worcestershire County Council, said: 
“The work, the group, Stronger Together do is really vital. Just like our physical health, our mental health changes. All these activities the group provides make it easier to look after ourselves and each other. They break down barriers and help us all to tell each other how we really feel rather than just automatically say that we are ‘fine’. A conversation really does have the power to change lives.”

If you live near Wythall and Hollywood and would like to find out more about Stronger Together and get involved, please email strongertogethernw@gmail.com. 

To find out more about Time to Talk day and find out more about how to start a conversation about mental health, go to the Time to Talk Day website.

For local advice and guidance please take a look at the Mental Health pages of the Worcestershire County Council website.