Luke’s mission to help others through Wigan Anxiety Group
A borough man who has suffered from crippling anxiety since childhood has now launched his own group to help others with mental health disorders.
Wigan Anxiety Group, run by 37-year-old Luke, is designed to give people with anxiety disorders a “safe space” to deal with their condition.
After a year of volunteering at Manchester’s self-help services, Luke felt he had gained enough confidence to launch his own sessions in Wigan.
He said: “I have personally lived with anxiety since I was a child. Over the past year or two I have made progress and it’s always been a dream of mine to run a group when I felt ready to do so. As part of the group in Manchester I attend weekly meetings and share my own experiences with the group. I’ve loved doing it, and so last year I started my own group in Wigan.”
Starting with around eight to 10 people, the group gradually continued to grow until it became a regular sanctuary for more than a dozen people suffering with anxiety. It was then that Luke approached mental health charity “Rethink Mental Illness” to arrange launching an official support group in Wigan.
Luke added: “Giving people the opportunity to sit in a room and speak with people that have experienced similar things, in a non-judgemental atmosphere, can be a powerful thing. So far, the people that have attended have felt the same way.
“I’m also very aware that some people may want to attend the group just to be in the same company of people who experience the same things as them regarding anxiety and depression.
“They may not want to say much at all and that is something I state at the start of every meeting - people are free to say as much or as little as they want and can leave at any time if they feel uncomfortable.
“If attendees don’t want to say anything and simply listen, they are just as welcome to be part of the group as a person who really opens up and shares a lot.
“I just want to give people a safe space to address their anxiety.”