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Listening ear . . . Mind Matters facilitators Eleanor and John Ranstead welcome any one who is facing mental well-being challenges to attend the group which is held on a Friday from 10.30am to 11.30am. PHOTO:SANDY EGGLESTON

Mind Matters is a group that meets weekly in Mataura to support people with their mental wellbeing.

The meeting is facilitated by Eleanor and John Ranstead and Melda Turner and held in the community development office.

Mrs Ranstead said sometimes when people were struggling they had to wait to see a health professional.

This was where the group could provide support.

“What we say to people is come along to Mind Matters because at least you’re connecting with someone who understands or can relate to what you are going through.

“We can offer immediate contact.”

People attending the group knew what it was like to struggle emotionally.

“We’re people who have experienced depression and mental-related issues who have decided we don’t like how life is going for us and have come along to Mind Matters to figure out what is happening in our lives and what we can actually do to sort things out.”

The leaders were not trained counsellors.

“We don’t offer advice.

“We just offer compassion and understanding,” Mrs Ranstead said.

The group had been going for about eight years and numbers attending varied.

“We have some people who come in and visit us every couple of months when the wheels fall off the bus again through to people who attend regularly.

“We are also there for people who are supporting people through mental and emotional illnesses as well because they usually get quite run down and depressed themselves.”

The course was 12-step based.

Group members enjoyed a meal together after the meeting.