Working together for mental wellbeing

Wayne & Emma
Following on from #TimetoTalk Day a couple of weeks ago it was a pleasure this morning to welcome back to Phoenix three of the volunteers with the Essex Mental Health Community – Wayne Banks, Emma O’Leary and Paul Howard.

Essex Mental Health Community aims to give a voice to people with particular experiences of all sorts of issues associated with mental wellbeing, putting individuals in touch with service providers and other organisations, as well as raising awareness of particular conditions.

Part of being human is dealing with things that we might think set us apart from others – be that Tourettes Syndrome, which we covered on the programme a few weeks ago; depression; OCD; and so on – and whilst some may experience what’s often unhelpfully described as a “mental condition” to a greater degree than others, we discussed how society is slowly making progress in breaking down taboos and treating people for who they are rather than with sometimes overly simplistic labels.

#TimetoTalkThe Essex Mental Health Community has a number of new support groups launching over the next couple of months, starting with a Maternal Mental Health Peer Support Group next Saturday (1st March), then a Mood Peer Support Group on Thursday 10th April and an Anxiety Peer Support Group a week later, on April 17th.

If you think you or someone you know might benefit from some support, do get in touch with the Community. One of the main aims of the Time to Change campaign – for which Wayne is a Champion – is to bring all sectors of the local community together, and as the radio station for our area we at Phoenix are delighted to play our part!

Listen again to our chat here:

Listen again to various interviews on #TimetoTalk Day here, and follow Essex Mental Health Community on Facebook and Twitter.

From Essex Mental Health Community:

Our mission as a user led organisation is to include mental health service users in the development of local health and social care services. We want to demonstrate the value of service user consultation and the importance of peer support. Working in collaboration with mental health service providers, we want to get everyone working together to support people’s mental health and wellbeing – to develop a mental health community.

Join our monthly forum on the 1st Tuesday of every month from 7pm at:

White Buddha Café
Merrymeade House
Merrymeade Chase
CM15 9BG

Awareness and Fund Raising Events:

Brentwood Half Marathon

Nicky and Paul will be running to help raise awareness and funding for Essex Mental Health Community on Sunday 23rd March. Please come along to support them along the route, or to make a donation then please email

Nuclear Rush 6km Mud Race

We have a team of 30 people working together to complete the obstacle mud run on Sunday 11th May. If you want to join the team, enter your own team to support local mental health, or make a donation then please email

Brentwood Fire Walk

Gabby will be braving the hot coals to help raise funding for Essex Mental Health Community on Saturday 17th March. Please come along to support Gabby, or to make a donation then please email

Links to Local Peer Support Groups:

ADHD Support Group

Anxiety Support Group (page TBC)

Bipolar and BPD Support Group

Depression Support Group

Maternal Mental Health Support Group

Mood Support Group (page TBC)

OCD Support Group

Tourette’s Support Group

We are also working in partnership with Brentwood Buddhist Community, Brentwood Community Print, Brentwood Leisure Trust, Brentwood Mind, and Aspire, to bring a pilot sports programme to Brentwood for people with lived experience of mental health issues. The programme will be user led and user run, with opportunities to train as Gym Instructors for people with disabilities via the InstructAbility project, or as Peer Supporters via Together UK and Interact, or just to help young people maintain a good mental and physical health. Further information will be available shortly via our forum meetings and our social media…