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Arts & Culture

New ‘offline’ membership club launched to support those suffering from anxiety

A mental health professional from Tynemouth has launched a new offline membership club for people suffering from overthinking and anxiety.

Swirl is an offline service in the sense that print materials and in-person meet ups are prioritized over smartphones and social media.

Swirl founder Andy Walton said that he is trying to cultivate a network of energized individuals across the US and UK who are eager to come together and share what works for them in managing overthinking.

The membership club started out as a printed publication that served as a guide for managing worry and providing evidence-based mental health literature.

The publication created something of a global community, through which educational material is shared and peer-led conversations break down the unnecessary stigma around mental health.

The new membership service is about connecting people to this community and providing further opportunities to get advice about how to manage overthinking and anxiety.

Swirl’s work has attracted features in the Guardian and instigated a panel discussion at the Tate Modern.

There are also plans for Swirl to collaborate with North East firms, offering businesses a space to discuss the impact of mental health issues.

Swirl was supported by local enterprise organisation PNE Enterprise, who support young people and entrepreneurs in the North East to develop and market products which make a positive social impact.

Lee Longstaff of PNE Enterprise said: “Swirl is a fantastic example of a self-funding initiative which has the potential to make a real difference to people experiencing challenges relating to mental health and wellbeing.

“Swirl aligns perfectly with our mission to help people develop sustainable, socially impactful projects in the North East. We are very proud to have been able to have supported Andy develop Swirl into a recognised brand.”

Swirl founder Andy Walton added: “We are passionate about breaking down barriers and encouraging dialogue in everyday spaces not usually entered by mental health-specific services.

“Essentially, we want to create opportunities to engage everyday people proactively in conversations about how to better manage worry.”