Local Andover resident Dani Lou Kiely-Watt, started a Facebook support group 9 months ago for people struggling with mental health. The ‘You Matter Too’ group, which started as a small local group now has over 500 members to date acting as a ‘lifeline’ to people.
The community recently came together to donate prizes for raffle such as free carpet and fitting ready for Christmas, cleaning vouchers, gift cards, meal vouchers and more. The group managed to raise over £200 for Andover’s mental health charity, Mind.
The reason behind ‘you matter too’, Dani told Andover radio 95.9fm ‘5 years ago I hit rock bottom, my then new born daughter was diagnosed with a complex heart condition. I didn’t need mental health services or counselling, I needed someone to talk to’
Everyone will know someone who is or has been lonely at some point in their lives. The Government reported that in 2016/17.
‘There were 5% of adults (aged 16 years and over) in England reporting feeling lonely “often/always” – that’s 1 in 20 adults. Furthermore, 16% of adults reported feeling lonely sometimes and 24% occasionally.’
Since then has marked a shift in the way government saw and acted on loneliness. It set out a clear vision for this country to be a place where we can all have strong social relationships. Where families, friends and communities support each other, especially at vulnerable points where people are at greater risk of loneliness. Where institutions, businesses and organisations value the human element in their interactions with people. And where loneliness is recognised and acted on without stigma or shame so that we all look out for one another.
‘You Matter Too’ has showed a great community cohesion and reported to have been has been ‘an absolute lifeline’ to so many people, the purpose of ‘you matter too’ is to know that at the end of a stressful day someone is there to have a chat with no posts going unturned.
‘We have games and interactive quizzes to engage people. Myself and the other admins try to support people at their lowest. Within the first 10 days of setting up the group myself and another admin saved a man’s life and signposted him the help he so desperately needed.’
Dani, who is training to be a counsellor, ensures the admins have regular check-ins to ensure they also receive support if needed.
Dani told Andover Radio 95.9fm “This group has helped so many members and people will tell you that being a part of you matter too is like a massive family who are there to support one another, there is no judgement, no pressure to fit in just be you. It’s absolutely beautiful to watch strangers become friends. The over and compassion on you matter too has restored my faith in humanity.
I think it’s really important to know someone truly cares and if that’s a stranger on the end of the phone so be it as long as you’re not alone. I will always tell people its ok not to be ok as long as you reach out and don’t suffer in silence if someone is willing to loan an ear. Especially now more than ever before with another lockdown looming upon us know people are there and that they care.“
If you need or someone you know needs support over lockdown the message is to reach out.
SHOUT is the UK’s first 24/7 text service, free on all major mobile networks, for anyone in crisis anytime, anywhere. It’s a place to go if you’re struggling to cope and you need immediate help.
SAMARITANS – Provides confidential, non-judgemental emotional support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including those that could lead to suicide. You can phone, email, write a letter or in most cases talk to someone face to face.
Telephone: 116 123 (24 hours a day, free of charge)
PAPYRUS – Provide confidential support and advice to young people under the age of 35 struggling with thoughts of suicide, and anyone worried about a young person through their helpline,
HOPELINEUK– Call: 0800 068 4141
Text: 07860 039 967. Every Day 9:00 am to 12:00 am (midnight)