A CROSS Hills support group for men with mental health issues has become so successful that it has now inspired two new spin-off groups.

Jimmy Vaughan and Andrew Williams began Talk & Thrive sessions at the village's Social Club on Main Street to allow men to chat about their concerns and help each other.

This month Talk&Thrive sessions have also been established for women at the Wellbeing Lounge in Keighley and for men at the Clubhouse Coffee and Cycles in Skipton.

Jimmy and Andrew set up a Facebook group about five years ago entitled EMPS Empowering Survivors, for people who had been abused as children.

This eventually led to a face-to-face group for members to meet, with help from another local man, John Bailey.

Jimmy said: "From there it has grown in leaps and bounds. We were asked through Anita at the Crosshills Social Club to open a men's mental health support group.

"We've given interviews over the years on Look North, Stray FM, Heart Yorkshire and Radio Leeds, and we took part in the BBC Listening Project.

"Our group in Cross Hills became so successful that we were asked to start a female Talk&Thrive.

"Coffee and tea will be served for free and let's hope it does well, as we all know it's needed badly.

"We'll also be opening a Keighley Talk&Thrive men's group in the near future."

The female Talk & Thrive will begin on Thursday February 27 from 7pm to 9pm at the Wellbeing Lounge on East Parade, Keighley.

It will be run by yoga teacher Sarah Jane Fortune – who owns the venue – reflexologist and holistic therapist Sharon Thomas, and Louise Blackwell who is assistant solicitor with experience of domestic violence cases.

Sarah Jane said the group was run solely by women and would be open to any woman who wanted to talk. She, Sharon and Louise could draw on their relevant expertise when necessary, or signpost people to other organisations if there was a more serious issue to be addressed.

Talk & Thrive is held fortnightly in Cross Hills Social Club, Main Street, on Tuesdays from 7.30pm to 9pm.

The Talk&Thrive in Skipton started this month at the Clubhouse Coffee and Cycles, Newmarket Street, and will be held on one Thursday each month from 7.30pm to 9pm.

Jimmy and Andrew present a live podcast every Monday afternoon through the Facebook page, talking about all aspects of mental health.

Visit the Facebook page EMPS - Empowering Survivors or email emps.empoweringsurvivors2014@gmail.com for further information on any of the three groups.