As part of our Let’s Talk About It campaign, Bideford’s Intagr8 says more should be done within communities to tackle mental health.

More needs to be done to tackle mental health in the community, rather than just ‘handing out pills’, the leader of a Bideford organisation has said.

Rachel Raper set up Intagr8, a community interest company, which works with mental health and addiction, in September last year and already has 40 clients.

Rachel’s belief is that more needs to be done outside of the hospital regarding mental health – and the lack of resources in Bideford led her to set up Intagr8.

She said: “At the moment if you’re depressed and go to the doctors, you get tablets and then go home.

“The tablets might start working, but if you’re socially isolated you won’t make improvements. The community should be the resource.”

Rachel said she believes more people are talking about mental health nowadays, and this has led to the perceived increase in people seeking help.

Let's Talk About It - the North Devon Gazette's campaign on mental health.Let's Talk About It - the North Devon Gazette's campaign on mental health.

“Mostly, we deal with the homeless; with drug or alcohol addiction; with depression; and a lot of social isolation, where people are feeling lost,” she said.

“The majority of our clients are men, which is unusual, as men are normally less likely to talk about their feelings.”

Despite this, Rachel believes a lot more still needs to be done to help the elderly.

She said: “Most of our clients are aged 18-45, but I think there are a lot of elderly people who are very isolated, lonely or bereaved, and they get missed out quite a lot.

“In the wartime the attitude was that you just got on with things and I think that is why – but younger generations are starting to talk about mental health a lot more.”

Rachel said her next goal for Intagr8 is to try to set up some sort of centre in East-the-Water, working with the elderly.

So far she has worked on many projects, including creating a community garden in East-the-Water which is managed by people with depression.

As well as offering both free and paid-for counselling, Intagr8 works to help the people accessing its services back into the community.

Intagr8 can be found at the Chope’s car park in Bideford. To find out more and how to access its services, visit http://intagr8.net.