Talk Ourselves Well is a project that has been recently funded by the Community Asset Fund through the Spark Collaborative. The aim of the group is to provide a safe and social space for men who may find it difficult to talk about the problems and challenges the are facing.

The founder of the group, Si Donnelly, said that the catalyst of the project came from a particularly difficult period of his own life. He had lost two friends through suicide within a space of 9 months which hit him pretty hard. He suffered another trauma when he was asked to leave Service stemming from his attempts at self-medication – the parting words of staff were “Talk Yourself Well Mate”. This was the spark…not just for himself but for others. That was when Talk Ourselves Well was born as an idea.

The group is for 18+men and meets every Thursday in Whitehall Park, Darwen between 6pm and 8pm. Everyone is encouraged to take responsibility in setting up the session which is under a canopy around a campfire. The group also meets for the first 3 Saturdays of the month for the “All Bloke Walk and Talk”. That starts at 1pm from the top entrance of Sunnyhurst Woods in Darwen for a circular walk via Step Back Clough and the hiker’s café in Tockholes.

Si said “People are encouraged to talk honestly without fear of judgement. Traditional models of Recovery aren’t always for everyone so people who may not feel comfortable with 12 Step programme rooms can seek peer help. By talking about their experiences and challenges, it can go some way towards alleviating possible Mental Health Challenges that arise from keeping everything inside their own heads. If we can help educate people into a better understanding of Mental Health then we will have gone a long way to achieving what we set out to do.”

People can be referred into the group via the BwD DCRS System but it there is nothing stopping people from just turning up on the days. Alternatively, people can get in touch through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram if they want reassurance that it is for them.

The Whitehall Park gates meeting point for Thursday nights can be found using What3words: Just. Quarrel. Pushy. and the camp location in the park can be found using What3words: Vets. Dining. Nurses.