How a woman on the brink of a nervous breakdown is bringing SASS to Fleetwood and the Fylde coast

Helen Simey
Helen Simey

When Helen Simey was working through her mental struggles, she came across a word and it changed everything for her.

Using the ethos of Smile, Attitude, Sparkle and Shine, the 47-year-old launched a Facebook support group - SASS, a few months ago.

The mother-of-two from Fleetwood said: “We are a group of ladies based in Fleetwood or the Fylde coast, aimed at being able to offer support online through Facebook and with social gatherings.

“Most importantly, SASS is a place to celebrate women and learn from one another. It’s a place to get support and advice without criticism or judgement.

“Since it was created in April, we have grown and we now have more than 1,000 ladies within the group.

“Initially I set up and ran the group on my own but after a shout out for help we now have a small team who help me keep SASS relevant and dynamic covering a lot of subjects that are important to our ladies.

“The focus remains is on supporting each other, enhancing our self-care and reaching out with ideas for those who might not know where to go to for support.

“The idea is that together we are stronger and we can all help and support each other with simple words of comfort or encouragement, whatever might be needed.

“It is designed to work like a magazine and is structured so you can go straight to areas that interest you in our subgroups or have a flick through the posts.”

The group covers topics such as menopause, fitness, crafting and creativity group, as well as being affiliated to a meditation and reiki group. It also offers challenges to boost self-confidence or physical wellbeing; monthly prize draws and a virtual and face-to-face book club.

The women also do a lot of charity work, collecting bras for the Pink Charity for African ladies and old spectacles for Vision Aid.

They are holding a fund-raising event on October 10, for the Hello Yellow World Mental Health Day and next month they will support Blackpool Victoria Hospital’s Ward 26.

Helen revealed she was inspired to find ways of promoting positive wellbeing when she suffered a mental breakdown five years ago.

She said: “I sought help from the professionals, going on medication and getting CBT support.

“Whilst the medical support was great during my initial treatment, the after care and ongoing support for mental health illness was non-existent. It got me thinking about other ladies who aren’t able to reach out or who don’t know where to look for support.

“I knew I needed to do something to help those ladies. I started seeking support on-line and challenging myself with exercise, walking and personal goals. My coping strategies did help me move on but when I saw the word SASS, I realised what I was supposed to do. So I took a huge step outside of my comfort zone and did it. Our strapline of Smile, Attitude, Sparkle And Shine sums up what the group is about.”