A new wellbeing support group will be launching in Dorchester.

The support group, launched by mental health charity Dorset Mind, will focus on managing anxiety and depression, the two most common mental health problems that up to one in six people in Dorset live with.

This is the first step in Dorset Mind’s plans to expand their services in the west and north of the county, which is a major focus of the charity over the next 12 months.

Marianne Storey, CEO of Dorset Mind, said: "We are extremely lucky to be developing our strategy so quickly in 2018, especially in the parts of Dorset that require extra support.

"We've been very lucky in the fact the Wellbeing Support Group in Dorchester is being mostly funded by the amazing efforts of David Upshall and Anita Harries.

"David is the senior partner of David Upshall Insurance Services and Anita is the former ex-Mayoress of Dorchester. They've both been extremely supportive with their local knowledge and creative with their fundraising efforts.

Dr Andrew Mayers, principal academic at Bournemouth University and Patron for Dorset Mind added: "I am delighted to see this new wellbeing group start in Dorchester. At Dorset Mind we made a commitment to ensure our mental health services were pan-Dorset. This is just the start. Traditionally, mental health services in the west of Dorset have been limited. Dorset is a rural county. In some cases, those people needing support in west Dorset need to travel to Bournemouth or Poole. This can be a real challenge for some, especially if they have no transport of their own.”

As a result of the recent changes, Dorset Mind has joined forces with David Upshall, Senior Partner of David Upshall Insurance Services to fundraise specifically for this project. Mr Upshall is keen to invest financially in the mental health of his community – he sees this as his legacy.

“Mental illness and stress are a growing problem, especially when you consider the pace and pressures of everyday life," he said.

"Here in West Dorset it’s no different. I’m truly delighted to link up with Dorset Mind and help them build services in this part of the county."

Dorset Mind has designed a series of support services for West Dorset that are a mixture of talking therapies and befriending. This format has proven successful in Bournemouth, Weymouth and surrounding areas, so Dorset Mind will be following the same format in Dorchester.

Dorset Mind estimates the cost of setting up initial services and running them for a year to be in excess of £35,000.

There has been an assortment of events to-date, from the initial launch to networking events organised by supporters of Dorset Mind, and an auction, each to raise money for the new Wellbeing Group in Dorchester.

Now, the current West Dorset fundraising total stands at £12,275. To give you an idea it costs approximately £2,500 to run the bi-monthly group each year, helping up to 16 people. There is a long way to go to achieve the £35,000 target but with your help they can.

For more information or to donate visit dorsetmind.uk/