A MENTAL health support group celebrated its first birthday this week – and founder Stevie Oliver says it’s going from strength to strength.
Stevie launched Take Ten last year after suffering with mental health issues for most of her life.
The 42-year-old Dewsbury woman had failed in another attempt to take her own life when she realised she wanted to turn it around.
She wanted to help not only herself but others struggling with the same problems as her, because she felt there wasn’t enough professional support available.
Now, a year later, the group supports more than 50 people at its weekly sessions in Dewsbury Town Hall – and Stevie said it has saved her life.
Speaking to The Press at Take Ten’s first birthday party on Wednesday, fittingly during the national Mental Health Awareness Week, Stevie said: “A year ago today I stood up and said my name’s Stevie Oliver and I’ve got mental health issues, and now look how many people have done the same.
“This group has been my saviour, without Take Ten I wouldn’t have been here.
“I needed a purpose in life, I’ve got my kids and they should have been enough but mental health is unfair and it takes absolutely everything to push through.
“I’m extremely proud of every single person that makes Take Ten what it is.
“It started off as just a dream of mine and very quickly developed into a group. Without everybody stepping out of their comfort zone and saying ‘this is who I am, this is what I live with’ then we wouldn’t be here.”
Eventually Stevie wants Take Ten to be able to offer round-the-clock help – but for now they open their doors at Dewsbury Town Hall every Wednesday from 10am to 2.30pm.
It’s an open session for anyone suffering with mental health issues, including 44-year-old Jane Thompson who has been part of the group from its inception.
“Before I came to Take Ten I didn’t go out of the house,” she said.
“My kids are my carers and when they’d gone off to school and work I wouldn’t go out anywhere.
“Now I can get in a taxi on my own from my home to here, I can get out of the house now.
“If it wasn’t for Stevie sending me a message saying she was setting up a group and that I had to come I wouldn’t be here, but from that day on I’ve been here every week.”
And on the back of Take Ten’s success, they set up a sister group called Take Ten Juniors which is open for youngsters suffering with the same issues.
They meet every Friday night in the adventure playground at Dewsbury’s Crow Nest Park from 4pm to 8pm – and today they’re hosting a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.
Dewsbury businesses Ezmuve and Soiree Eventz are helping with the set-up and have agreed to match any donations made on the day – all of which will go to funding Take Ten’s work.
For more information or to get help from the Take Ten gang, email firstname.lastname@example.org or simply turn up to a meeting.