A mental health peer support group held its first session in Rickmansworth over the weekend.

Mental Health Mates took place in Rickmansworth Aquadrome on Saturday 6 and was run by Lorna Cunningham, a mindfulness expert.

Mrs Cunningham, from Chalfont St Peter, said: “Anything that slows down the pace of life is really good for your mental health. Meeting for a walk and a chat is very beneficial.”

Mental Health Mates was founded by Bryony Gordon, journalist and author, after she opened up about her battles with OCD, bulimia and drug dependency.

Mrs Gordon, who is a popular columnist for The Daily Telegraph, said: “One in four of us will experience mental health this year. It’s about reassuring people that they aren’t alone.”

Every group has a walk leader and is free to attend. The group’s first meeting took place in Hyde Park on Valentines Day after Mrs Gordon suggested a free meet-up for people with mental health issues on Twitter.

She said: “I thought I had gone properly mad as I left home that cold, wet, Sunday morning. Then 20 people turned up, and we’ve been adding new members ever since.”

Mrs Gordon also released a book this year after receiving praise for her column about mental health. Mad Girl is a memoir of her struggles with mental health from a young age and has been listed as a Sunday Times Bestseller.

She said: “Mental health lies to you. It tells you you’re a freak and that you’re on your own. So being able to talk and spend time with like-minded people hopefully gives confidence that you are none of those things.”

Mental Health Mates will be popping up across the country, with Mrs Gordon running the London sessions.