Northampton mental health expert expects 'significant rise' in group numbers next year

Nick is the face behind Talk Mental Health.Nick is the face behind Talk Mental Health.
Nick is the face behind Talk Mental Health.
Nick Wilson is expecting a rise in the number of men, and their partners who need support attending his sessions from January

An army veteran who set up a mental health support group this year has said he expects an increase in the numbers of men joining in 2021.

After 14 years of service in the Army, Nick Wilson was diagnosed with seven prolapsed spinal discs, PTSD, osteoarthritis in his knees and fibromyalgia back in 2012, which he still fights everyday.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Nick, who served on operational tours in Iraq, Kosovo and Afghanistan, was inspired to set up a mental health support group after finding it difficult to get professional help for his wellbeing.

He wanted to raise awareness of mental illnesses within the veteran community, to reduce stigma and to show other men how to take a step forward.

Nick's support group, Talk Mental Health, was set up in July this year with just two members, which quickly grew to 30 men. But he said during lockdown 2.0, numbers have decreased as Christmas becomes a focus instead.

He said: "We have actually noticed a reduction in numbers, with the people we speak to saying they simply need to get through the rest of the year, into 2021, before they dare to even consider allowing themselves to drop their guard and make the time for themselves.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"We are fully expecting to be inundated next year from January and February onwards, dependant on what is happening in the world and additional lockdows.

"It is to be expected and if I am totally honest, I am doing much the same, I wake up every day and do whatever it takes to get me through that specific day, then tackle the next when it comes.

"Right now, if I allow myself to process what has happened this year in too much detail, then I am concerned it will become too overwhelming and it is going to take time to process everything and right now I need to be strong for other people."

Nick's other work surrounding mental health has also included running two successful campaigns where he has reached over 250,000 people on social media and 'saved the lives' of 10 people.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

In September, Nick, who is from Towcester, was shortlisted within The Community Award catergory at the Veterans Award for his dedication to mental health following his own battles with mental illness over the past four years.

He added: "It appears many other people are in the same position, especially those with a family where Christmas is a much bigger event, so they need to be strong for their kids or family members.

"After getting Christmas out of the way and New Year, January is always a difficult month even without Covid, so come January people will hopefully feel safe enough to begin processing a years worth of hurt, pain, stress, bereavement, upset, and we will be there with a range of new services, groups and activities, to provide the best support we can.

"For now, we are still running our Saturday drop-in meet-ups for guys, walk and talk format and we are live streaming a 12-week video series on self-management, which provides knowledge, guidance, suggestions and tips on how to better manage your own mental wellbeing, seeing everyone over Christmas, New Year and through January 2021."

From December, Nick is starting one more group, for the partners and children of the men who have not been getting the right support, so they can be helped, too.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.