A free new support group that will help local people tackle depression is now up and running on Launch of Barry SMILE groupTuesdays in Barry town centre.

Officially launched at the Barry Civic Offices by Mayor, Eric Hacker, the Barry SMILE Group will provide an opportunity for local people, who are suffering from stress and anxiety related disorders, to meet others in similar situations, get and give support, share experiences and learn new coping strategies.

Formed by people with direct experience of overcoming depression, the group will also offer positive role models for those currently affected by the mental health condition, as well as support for their families and friends. 

A member of SMILE, Richard Bravey, from Barry, said: “Being part of a group has really helped me improve my life and deal with depression. I have suffered in the past, but with the support of others in the same position I feel I can now motivate myself to get out and about.”

In Wales alone, NHS statistics show that more than 250,000 people are being treated for some form of depression. However, it is estimated that three in every four cases of depression are going undiagnosed [i], which could mean that 1m people in Wales - a third of the Welsh population - could suffer from depression at some point in their lives. 

Speaking at the launch of SMILE, the Mayor, Eric Hacker, said: “I’m very excited to be involved in the beginning of a group that has the potential to change many people’s lives in Barry for the better. There is a huge number of people out there that could be suffering from these kind of mental health issues, but suffer in silence. It’s groups such as these that will help people understand their own condition better, and help them get back on their feet.”

The group came together after training delivered by Welsh mental health charity, Journeys, which is the only charity in Wales that is solely dedicated to aid recovery from depression, providing counselling, training, advice and support services.

The Smile group, now hosted by Newydd Housing Association, was made possible with initial Barry Regeneration Area funding and will now continue with funding and support from Journeys, Public Health Wales and Communities First.

Journeys already supports a network of 10 groups, like SMILE, across Wales, and aims to establish one in every major town so that anyone affected by depression can access support locally.

Tony Smith, chief executive of Journeys, said: “We’re thrilled to be able to support a new peer support group in Barry and we’re confident that this will help local people find much-needed role models and support to recover from depression.

“The founders of the group met while taking our own ‘Depression Busting’ course and we’re delighted to be able to continue supporting them to help other people in similar situations.”

SMILE meets every Tuesday between 11am and 1pm at the People Centre on Thomson Street. To get in touch with the group, please contact Adele at Newedd Housing Association on 07974 956751, via email on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit www.journeysonline.org.uk

[i] Report funded by Lunbeck, Impact of Depression: a multi-disciplinary comment on treating depression (1995)