Horsham woman’s call for ‘talking benches’ to boost mental health

A Horsham woman is calling for support to launch a new programme to tackle mental health.

Friday, 13th November 2020, 12:59 pm

Psychologist Dr Tara Quinn-Cirillo wants to introduce ‘talking benches’ and ‘walk and talk’ areas around the town so people can manage loneliness and connect with others.

She said: “We can never underestimate the positive impact of connecting with others on our emotional wellbeing.

“Loneliness and mental health issues have been prevalent throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Restrictions have been placed on how and when we socialise which has exacerbated loneliness for many and increased mental ill health.

Dr Tara Quinn-Cirillo SUS-200325-170456001

“The elderly are particularly vulnerable and also men, who have been shown to struggle more with reaching out and talking about mental health.

“As part of my community focus and ongoing Compassionate Horsham Campaign, I want to introduce ‘talking benches’ and ‘walk and talk’ locations locally to help mange loneliness and connect people in the hope of supporting mental health in our community as we continue to navigate the pandemic.”

Dr Tara’s project will be called Conversation Starter: Connecting People, Connecting Communities and Enhancing Wellbeing and she hopes cafes, community centres and other organisations will get involved in supporting the scheme.

The psychologist said she wants to encourage people to have a socially distanced chat and connect with others.

She added: “Kaya café in Horsham Park is one venue that has agreed to be involved and we are hoping others will follow suit. It is ideally located for people to walk and start a conversation together round the park this winter.

“I am urging local and wider communities to engage with this project and act as host for signs to either ‘walk and talk’ or ‘talking benches’.

“Interested parties can contact me to get involved via the ‘Compassionate Horsham’ Facebook Group or email at [email protected]