A SOUTH Ockendon resident, Hayley Quincey, is making a positive difference to people who may be experiencing mental health challenges.
Mental health is an issue that’s becoming increasingly more recognised but there is still much to do in reducing the impact it has on many people’s lives.
Mental Health Mates Thurrock is a volunteer peer support group that meets monthly. The group, led by Hayley and supported by friend Sam, will soon be celebrating their third birthday in March and their walks offer peer support to people who need to take a break.
These short walks take place during the early evening in Ockendon and it’s also a great way to get some exercise, which is key to improving mental health.
Anyone can join and there is no judgement or fear. The group are not mental health trained experts but rather a collection of individuals who have suffered, or may be suffering, with various challenges. They offer empathy, understanding and a safe space.
Speaking about the group Hayley said: “One of the main things we ask people who join us for a walk is ‘how are you really?’ while we walk and talk.
“Of course, some may not want to share, but simply benefit from listening to those who do. Some just like the fresh air and a chance for an hour away from the busy lives they lead. It’s a chance to get people together and we’re currently planning our ‘June Family Jubilee Walk’ which will not only recognise our Queen but also celebrate the groups birthday.
“What we can do is promise you there is no judgement – there is just a sense of peace where members of our community can meet like-minded people, share stories and, quite often, have a giggle”.
The team arrange monthly walks and more details can be found on their social media pages (search Mental Health Mates Thurrock) or DM for more details on firstname.lastname@example.org
Don’t be frightened to reach out – you’ll be surprised how one walk can make a difference.