A mental health support group that began helping Warrington residents at the beginning of lockdown last March now boasts more than 7,000 members around the world and has just celebrated its first anniversary.
Rainbow After The Storm was founded by Nicky Price from Higher Stretton in a bid to provide mental and emotional support to people living in the town during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Little did the 48-year-old know that the pandemic would take hold of the UK and the world and that people would still be needing her services 12 months later.
Members of the group marked the one-year celebrations with an online disco on Friday night choosing songs and remembering some of the more difficult times over recent months with a moment of remembrance.
Nicky said: “Friday nights have been the highlight over the last 12 months not only for us but for many as they’re something to look forward to.
“They cheer us up and help us connect with others to beat loneliness while providing a light relief from the worries and struggles in our lives.”
The Facebook group has attracted members from Spain and France as well as Canada, the United States and Australia with 7,300 people following posts, advice and live videos.
Nicky said: “Each time someone new joins this widens our reach across the world and introduces them to our great town.
“We are like a family because we offer support, friendship and connections and we share a common bond that we are all here because we have struggled or are struggling with mental health issues.”
Tuesday and Thursday mornings see Nicky conduct mindfulness sessions where she looks at coping strategies and how people can deal with life moving forward and Tuesday evenings on zoom look at education therapy with April’s topic focusing on what brings people joy.
Nicky said: “Lockdown has taught us that at some point in our lives, we will all be impacted to some extent by mental health.
“I believe we are yet to see the full impact of Covid-19 as people readjust to the new normal with people facing redundancies and families facing financial hardship.
“We are determined to continue to build our support networks and educate people so that they and their families can deal with their mental health issues.”
Rainbow Wellbeing Warriors will be launched next week and will create a mental and nutritional wellbeing programme, where people can share their journey and support each other.
Nicky said: “I truly believe we are saving people’s lives.
“We have people who have come to us from the darkest of places having had suicidal thoughts, problems with marriage and family as well as home schooling, loneliness and terminal illness.
“Our stories are what bond us together.
“Rainbow After The Storm has brought a safe place for people to be themselves, however they are feeling, with no judgement.
If one person is feeling down there are 20 people who out their hands to let them know it’s ok.”
She added: “Lockdown may be coming to an end but our minds do not work with the same time frame and I believe that we are still to learn the true extent of the effect the pandemic has had and will continue to have on our mental health.”
For more information visit www.rainbowafterthestorm.org