Published: 13:38, 10 January 2022
| Updated: 16:16, 10 January 2022
A mental health support group is embarking on a new project to see if horses can help improve its members' wellbeing.
Talk It Out, based in Deal, is working with charity Jackie Claringbould (JC) Inspiring Through Horses.
The six week Equine Assisted Therapy (EAT) programme is an activity-based holistic therapy, found to be particularly effective in promoting physical and mental wellbeing.
The charity has previously worked with people with learning difficulties, special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and other neuro-diverse needs.
Talk It Out's first session was at Owl House Stables in St Margaret’s Bay on Sunday.
During the 60 minute session, the group met the horses and covered mindfulness and grounding techniques.
Already, founder Tracy Carr BEM felt, the impact was notable.
She said: "Talk It Out has been running for 10 years so trying a new form of therapy was exciting.
"At our first session, three of our members particularly took to the horses and really opened up.
"They spoke about 'a complete sense of calm' and another said they felt 'total acceptance and understanding from everyone.'"
Mrs Carr set up Talk It Out with retired psychotherapist Marie Jordan as an evening group for people with anxiety and depression in 2011.
It grew to include a private Facebook page where people could share their problems and in June 2016, saw the opening of its wellbeing hub where peer support and counselling could be accessed Monday to Friday.
A major achievement has been preventing nearly all suicides among mentally distressed people who have used it.
But Mrs Carr described how the group continues to be "inundated" with crisis calls, particularly from men.
She said: "So many people do not know where to turn."
Thanks to a £5,000 grant, successfully secured by Colin Smith, from The Port of Dover Fund, administered by the Kent Community Fund, the group will soon be offering youth counselling.
For more information contact Tracy at Talk It Out on 07923 096273 or JC Inspiring People Through Horses at email@example.com.