By Sharon Ross

Marie is a regular member of Watford’s ‘Meeting Place’ – a Hertfordshire Mind Network support group for those with mental ill-health. 

The Tuesday group has a regular educational slot which covers topics such as mindfulness, anxiety and panic attacks.  This is run by a member of Hertfordshire Mind Network’s staff. It is followed by informal activities such as having a cup of tea and a natter or playing games such as billiards or scrabble - each member of the group decides what they want to do. The Saturday group does not have an educational component but offers members a chance to catch up with each other and take part in informal activities if they want to.

Marie says that she really enjoys coming to the group. ‘If I’m really struggling, I can come in and just offload…..but they [the staff] are very very good because if they know you’re struggling they’ll ask you if you want to talk then …if you say no - I need space - they’ll wait for you to go to them’.  She says that the staff respect her boundaries. She considers that the other members of the group are now her friends and she knows that if either these friends or members of staff were concerned about her they would call her up afterwards to check up on her.  She likes the educational component on a Tuesday ‘because you can hear other people’s stories… and their struggles and then kind of help each other…. There’s no judgement….it’s a safe space.’  But she also really values the more informal part of the group - to meet up with other people in similar situations. It helps her to not be lonely.  Marie says that new members are always made to feel welcome and that she would recommend the group to anyone in a similar situation.

To find out when and where our Meeting Places run, please see our services timetable on our timetable section.