Are there any opportunities for people with mental health problems to socialise or meet others?

There are plenty of opportunities to socialise with new people and take part in activities provided by charities and voluntary groups within St Helens:

The Wellbeing Project provides a range of activities for anyone who would like to learn new skills, meet new friends and find out about how to improve their general wellbeing. Past activities have included poetry and creative writing, drama, community choir, arts/crafts, film groups, learning a new instrument and movies to name just a few, and all activities are delivered in a safe and friendly environment where you can have fun and make new friends. The Wellbeing Project can also offer ‘books on prescription’, an extensive collection of self-help books that can be useful in helping people overcome a range of psychological problems.

St Helens Mind works with people who are isolated due to mental health problems, and aims to improve their quality of life by helping them to become more independent and involved within the community. They provide a befriending service, support groups, monthly social events (e.g. film mornings, trips out, walks, holidays) and an opportunity to become involved with their allotment project.

The Hope Centre run a course called ‘BREATHE’, aimed at improving the health wellbeing of people who have experienced mental health problems, social exclusion and isolation. The course is ideal for those who feel that they need more confidence, and includes a number of life skills courses where the individual can choose to do one course or take the journey through the complete programme.

Photographic Minds is a local voluntary group that meets up on a weekly basis at the Millennium Centre as a social group, where members have the chance to meet up and discuss photography that they have taken during that week. The group regularly goes out together on photography trips and holidays, and have previously had their work displayed at public exhibitions.

Neutral Ground is a local voluntary group that aims to improve people’s mental health and wellbeing by providing sports groups (e.g. football and badminton) and activities for people who have experienced mental health related issues. The group provides a safe and friendly environment where service users can be themselves without discrimination or stigma.

The Oasis Group is a drop-in session for people with wide-ranging mental health issues (e.g. anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, dual diagnosis etc) and their Carers. The aim of the group is to socialise and have fun in a friendly environment, and activities include bingo, quizzes and guest speakers. Meetings are held every Monday at 11am at the United Reformed Church.

The Anew Group is an activity and reflection based support group for people with mild to moderate mental health conditions. The group is informal, welcoming and meets up on a weekly basis at locations in the community such as at the Millennium Centre.

Earlestown Social Group provide social support and various activities in a friendly and informal group setting for people who have experienced mental health problems. The group meets up on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays at Crownway Community Centre.

St Helens Mental Health Forum runs a fortnightly peer support group that focuses on people with mental health problems working together on a particular project decided by the group, such as gardening or healthy eating.

There are also local support groups for specific groups of people or mental health problems, such as:

  • Women: Chrysalis Centre for Change, St Helens Mind, Together
  • Men: St Helens Mind
  • Older People: Keep in Touch group
  • Bipolar disorder: Bi-Polar UK
  • Self-harm: No Secrets
  • Addiction: Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Addaction and Dual Diagnosis
  • Bereavement: St Helens Bereavement Service
  • Rape and sexual abuse: RASASC

There is also a range of activities and classes available through the Health Improvement Team, local Community Centres and Leisure Centres.