With an increasing number of people experiencing poor mental health in Cornwall, Earth23 - a Community Interest Company and charity based in Bodmin - is providing a safe, welcoming place for people in the community to seek support.
Led by a board of volunteers, Earth23 came to fruition almost two years ago. Jack Brown is a member of the board and a founding member of Earth23. He is working towards becoming a psychotherapist, as well as having a diploma in social care and levels 2 and 3 in counselling. Jack himself has attended numerous groups in the past which didn’t seem to address some of the general issues many people face.
This led him to come together with a friend during the lockdowns in 2020, mutually agreeing that a support group for mental health was needed in Bodmin.
After receiving the initial funding from various organisations to help get the group started, the board’s aims are now to be self-sufficient and also to help set up similar groups up across the country. This not only provides a safe space for those who need it, week in, week out, but it alleviates some of the pressure experienced by counselling services who are swamped by referrals and have waiting lists of up to nine months.
“We’re a group of volunteers and like to think it’s a human service set up for humans,” Jack said.
But what about Covid-19 and how it has affected people’s mental health? Jack continued: “Covid made people aware of just how many people are struggling - everyone has a level of mental health, but it’s the stigma surrounding mental health that needs addressing. We need to be more upfront about it, and I think the small organisations and the work they’re doing needs to be talked about more.”
Earth23 consists of five board members who volunteer their time to run the group, but without the support of the community and its businesses, they wouldn’t be able to help so many people.
“I’ve always said, I just want to create a safe, non-judgemental place for people to grow,” Jack said.
Earth23 has fundraising pots in a number of local businesses in Bodmin, the funds of which will help the group become a self-sufficient community grassroots project, able to help more people.
Every Thursday evening, Earth23 holds a talking group for anyone seeking support at Bodmin Town Football Club between 7pm-9pm. Come along, socialise with others and be listened to by like-minded people.
For more information, join Earth23’s Facebook page.