Welwyn Garden City woman overcomes mental health struggles and sets up walking group to help others
- Credit: Nikki Vasco
A Welwyn Garden City woman who was once too nervous join a walking group has now set up her own local group to encourage people to go outside and talk about their mental health.
Nikki Vasco, a 41-year-old based in Panshanger, explained how mental health wellness became one of her priorities after going through a difficult time.
She said: "Like most people, my mental health has gone up and down throughout my life.
"I’ve had a lot of support for my mental health and I’ve become really interested in finding out more about how my brain works and how to support myself."
Nikki joined Mental Health Mates, a network of peer support groups run by people who experience mental health issues who meet to walk, connect and share.
You may also want to watch:
However despite knowing about MHM for years, Nikki didn’t feel confident enough to go to a walk.
"Then a group in Stevenage started just as lockdown was easing off earlier this year. So I went along even though I was really nervous. Everyone was so friendly and supportive, they all understand how scary it can be joining a new group," Nikki said.
- 1 12 year old girl hospitalised after being hit by car
- 2 Welwyn Garden City man shares 9.5 stone weight loss journey
- 3 Stonehills road section to reopen soon - but delays to other work
- 4 Application could see two festival sites next to each other
- 5 Ed Sheeran announces 2022 stadium tour: How to get tickets
- 6 Headteacher calls out 'dangerous' and 'inconsiderate' parking from parents outside school
- 7 The latest court results for Welwyn Hatfield and Potters Bar
- 8 Council leader survives no confidence vote
- 9 Historic Green Belt site under threat
- 10 Hertsmere MP Oliver Dowden appointed Tory co-chairman but loses secretary role
"It was really helpful to just be able to walk and chat with people who understood a bit about what it’s like having mental health problems. I’ve now made some good friends from the group, which is something I usually find hard because of my mental health."
Having felt her own situation improve from her experiences with Stevenage group, Nikki decided to set up the group in Welwyn Garden City because she wanted more peer support to be available in Herts.
She added: "We meet once a month and so far we’ve had two walks. They’ve been lovely! I’ve met some really nice people and it’s been really positive, there is a lot of laughter. It’s a really safe space where you can just be yourself.
"We do talk about mental health if people want to but we chat about anything else as well, and nobody is pressured to share more than they’re comfortable with."
They last met at Stanborough lakes. The walks take between one and two hours, but people can stay for as long or short a time as they’re comfortable with or talk as much or as little as they want.
The next walk is on September 19, for more visit: facebook.com/groups/503755864198711/.