New Sheringham support group for anxious and depressed
- Credit: Archant
When dad-of-two Luke Lee-Smith moved from his home town of Derby to north Norfolk with his family, he left behind a network of support that had helped him battle drug problems and lifelong mental health issues.
Keen to maintain the progress he had made, and to help others with similar problems, he has decided to set up a support group at Sheringham.
Mr Lee-Smith has launched Sheringham Anxiety and Depression Club at the Lighthouse Community Church.
'I realised that, other than short-term, three-session courses, there was nothing really available in the area,' the 37-year-old explained.
'And because I know for myself how isolated you feel when your are depressed, I wanted to give others a chance to sit down and share their experiences with a group of like-minded people.'
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Mr Lee-Smith began suffering from depression as a youngster dealing with the breakdown of his family and started using drugs at the age of 15.
A serious road accident in 1996 left him in a coma for nearly a month, also causing long-term memory loss and confusion.
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It led to him taking drugs, being jailed for crimes to feed his habit and trying to commit suicide.
After reaching rock bottom, he plucked up the courage to seek help - but even after a rehabilitation program he still found himself experiencing debilitating 'lows'.
However with further help he and his wife Helen, who also has a history of depression, managed to get on an even keel and joined the committee of a depression support group in Derby.
He moved to Sheringham six months ago, and hopes the new club will provide friendship, support and understanding to people suffering from depression and their families - as well as trips out and talks from visiting mental health professionals.
'I still get ups and downs, but I know what a release it is to come to a group,' he said.
'It is a taboo subject to tell people you are depressed – straight away you are pigeonholed, so having that support can be a huge help.'
Sheringham Anxiety and Depression Club meets at the Lighthouse Community Church, Cromer Road, between 7pm and 9pm on the first and third Tuesday of every month. For more information, phone 07964 542602.