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To celebrate #menshealthweek, we’re sharing just some of the ways in which our services create safe and welcoming spaces for men to talk about their mental health.

Earlier this year, our New Forest Wellbeing Service joined forces with their local RSPB and set about creating a group for local men who may be struggling with their wellbeing. The result was a weekly birdwatching and walking group, which offers the perfect environment for members to talk about how they are feeling, and support local bird conservation efforts at the same time.

We asked New Forest Wellbeing volunteer Terry, to talk about his vital group.

“I have been attending The Hollies which is a New Forest Wellbeing Centre since last autumn. I have been suffering from anxiety and depression, and I may be diagnosed with high functioning autism.

The Men’s group has been set up very recently, and I am very proud to say that I was asked to become involved in organising the group and help the RSPB and their Roseate Tern project.

As of yet, we have not come across one of these rare birds: but that really isn’t the point! The point is that we all meet up, same place, same time on a Monday. We have a walk around Lymington’s sea wall, bird watch and just have a natter. Our RSBP guide is very good at pointing out the birds and after our walk we retreat to the local pub where we continue our chat.

We have no agenda. We chat, have a laugh and surprisingly share our lived experiences and tips. It all feels very relaxed. Becoming a volunteer with the group is really helping me to have a sense of purpose and gives me a structure to my week.

Getting outdoors, meeting up in a very relaxed environment and having a chat, got me away from a difficult frame of mind. Our numbers are growing week on week and we’re tackling issues we’ve not bought up for years. It’s good to talk.”

If you’d like to get involved with the group, please contact the New Forest Wellbeing Service on 023 8084 1341 or email nfwreferrals@solentmind.org.uk.

Find out more about our Wellbeing Centres

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