A MENTAL health service which launched in Winchester a year ago has expanded across Hampshire.

Let It Out has run more than 25 groups since it began at Weeke Community Centre and the United Church in Jewry Street last year. Its small team of professional counsellors has extended its service to Eastleigh, Andover, Southampton and Basingstoke.

Hampshire Chronicle: The Let It Out teamThe Let It Out team (Image: Niamh Penman)

Niamh Penman, 44, from Oliver's Battery, who founded the mental health service, hosted a free wellbeing workshop at the end of last month.

A group of 26 men and women had a day full of therapeutic interventions focusing on mental health and wellbeing, dealing with anxiety, depression, childhood trauma and healing as well as breakfast and lunch.

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Hampshire Chronicle: Niamh PenmanNiamh Penman (Image: Niamh Penman)

Ms Penman, who launched the service after working at Trinity for seven years, said: “It really was a very powerful session and a real privilege for me to hear these heartfelt stories shared. Despite the amount of mental health struggles they have, today’s challenging cost of living and lack of services available, it was lovely to see all these participants actually get up Sunday morning, attend and take action to wanting to improve their lives. I really hope we can continue these workshops for as many as we can.

“We understand the immense challenges that individuals face when seeking timely and affordable professional counselling. Many people simply cannot afford it or are confronted with excessively long waiting lists, which often means that help arrives too late. We are very passion-ate and dedicated to what we do and aim to help as many people as we can.

“We are aware of the current mental health crisis that we are facing in the UK, higher suicide rates, unpredictable times, pressures of cost-of-living crisis and still harbouring the impacts of covid. We believe in bringing people back together in their communities, helping and supporting one another with the help of our group counselling services is very powerful

Hampshire Chronicle: The workshop at Weeke Community CentreThe workshop at Weeke Community Centre (Image: Niamh Penman)

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“We would like to reach out to many more to get in touch, let them know that they are not alone, we are here to help, and support is available. We would like to reach out to other companies, charities, organisations to help support us in a variety of ways.

"As a small local business, we struggle with the massive volume of individuals that contact us, cost of equipment, materials, refreshments, and costs hiring halls. We simply cannot help the amount of people that have reached out to us.”

Let It Out operates at various venues across the county, offering one-day workshops or eight-week courses. Upcoming events include a self-care and reflection day at Weeke Community Centre on Sunday, March 24. For more information go to letitout.help/.