A CHIRK woman is in the process of setting up a walk and talk group to encourage men to talk more openly about mental health.

Carole Jones has been in the process of starting up the Ceiriog Walk and Talk group, which she hopes will hold its first walk this month.

The idea of the group is to offer those who may be struggling with mental health issues, to spend time with others as a group and enjoy a walk outdoors.

As an avid walker herself, Carole believes it can be very beneficial and can encourage people to open up more.

“I do a lot of walking myself, and I know people that have got mental health problems who walk and it’s a fact that it helps,” she said.

“Sometimes, when you can all walk with other people and some of you have things in common, you can forget what’s going on and just talk. That could become something very helpful for some people.

“It might be the case that some people don’t have anyone to walk with, so it’s just an idea to do something for people who may need it.”

Carole said she hopes the group is able to create an environment in which people, particularly men, are comfortable talking about their mental health.

She continued: “Everybody always says we need to do something, but obviously these things take time.

“We’re not all counsellors and not everyone has access to that kind of help, but as far as I can see, there is very little in the county and places like Chirk for people to turn to to talk. We are lacking in those services as an area.

“I am not trying to trivialise it, but not everyone is always at the stage where they need professional help – I think sometimes you want nothing more than somebody else to talk to.

“I think this is the case in particular for men – I think women tend to be pretty good at talking with each other, but it seems to be the case that a lot of men still aren’t, and they should be. There shouldn’t be a stigma that you can’t talk to anybody about it.”

Carole added that mental health is an issue which everyone is becoming increasingly more aware of, and hopes the group can help to support people who may be affected by it.

“We all suffer and have all suffered from the aftermath of people taking their own life; there have been a number of cases in recent times across the region,” she said.

“People shouldn’t ever be thinking that’s the only resort they have.”

She said that ideas for the group are still being thought up properly, and insists she hopes to have solid plans for when the group will hold its first walk soon.

Chirk Town Councillor Gareth Baines has shown his support for the idea.

He said: “I think Carole’s idea is wonderful, and she has my full backing.

“I’ll be doing everything I can to support the initiative going forward.”

For more information about the group, visit the Ceiriog Walks and Talks Facebook page.