Mental health support group hopes to ‘Lift the Cloud’ in Bury St Edmunds

Vivienne Clements, Rob Atkins, Sally Williams and Mayor Terry Clements  PICTURE: Mecha Morton
Vivienne Clements, Rob Atkins, Sally Williams and Mayor Terry Clements PICTURE: Mecha Morton

A new support group for people suffering mental health issues has held its first meeting just days after launching.

Lift the Cloud Bury St Edmunds started last Tuesday as a Facebook group for anyone suffering conditions including PTSD, anxiety and severe depression. Within two days its founders had organised and held their first group meeting.

Rob Atkins, 46, who started Lift the Cloud with friend Sally Williams, said: “Sometimes it feels like there’s no help available, so we decided to stop moaning about it and to try to get something done.”

The group, which is backed by St Edmundsbury Mayor Terry Clements, already has 25 members, with four going along to the first meeting at St Edmundsbury Cathedral Café on Thursday.

“We are really trying to make it so there’s somewhere people can come where they don’t have to talk if they don’t want to, but they can be with other people who ‘get it’,” said Rob.

The Facebook group means people can talk to others who might have an idea what they are going through at any time.

“For example, if anyone feels like they need to talk they can put a message on there night or day and hopefully someone will be able to talk to them. It is an informal place to touch base with like-minded people,” said Rob, of Bury.

He and Sally met through a seminar held to discuss mental health support in West Suffolk.

“Sally and I started to talk about how we feel we have been let down. We thought ‘this has got to change’ and decided to we would set up Lift the Cloud and try to get the word out as much as possible. We want anyone who is suffering to get in touch,” added Rob.

Sally said they were also keen to erase some of the stigma surrounding mental health issues.

“Hopefully, by providing a non-threatening friendly place to come and talk to others that understand, may it be sufferers themselves or friends and family, we can help support those that are going through similar journeys, hopefully making good friends along the way,” she said.

“We are not medics, we are just fellow sufferers who feel we have had limited support and do not want others to suffer like we feel we have.”

The Cathedral Café has offered to allow Lift the Cloud to meet there weekly on Thursdays from 10.30am-12.30pm. You can find the Facebook group by searching ‘Lift the Cloud Bury St Edmunds’.