NORWICH – May is Mental Health Month and the WHEELS support group is taking the opportunity to invite Chenango County women to learn more about how they can help.
WHEELS, or Women Healing, Encouraging, Enriching, Living, Supporting, is a volunteer support group for women age 18 and over which focuses on dealing with a variety of issues and challenges.
The group meets 1 to 3 p.m. every Wednesday at Catholic Charities in Norwich and is open to any woman facing challenges.
“We started just dealing with mental health disorder, but we’re now open to any woman with issues they want to share,” said Lisa Thornton, board member and one of the founding members of the group. “When we began a year and a half ago we only had two people and have since increased to 20 ... 10 have come on board just in the last six months.”
Thornton said the program is more than just a support group. Members accompany each other to doctor’s appointments and plan group activities outside of meetings, including shopping trips and karaoke.
“We’re a group of friends,” she said.
Although there is no formal process for joining the group, Thornton said the board prefers to meet with interested individuals in order to make sure the program will be beneficial.
“We meet with you and ask to come to a meeting ... we’ve never turned someone away,” she said.
In addition to meetings and social activities, the group organizes a variety of fundraisers in the area over the course of the year. In particular, the women have adopted the All Animals Matter and Little Mews Adoption as their “pet projects.”..