A MUM who suffered with post-natal depression is sharing her story in a bid to help other people feel less lonely.

Cheryl Hunt was 24-years-old when she gave birth to her son, George, and while the new mum was overjoyed to have a baby at home, a feeling of loneliness slowly began to creep in.

"I had a lot going on around me at the time, I had to go straight back to work and I had lots of friends," she said.

"I was a manager of 20 people, always really confident. I only realised what had happened to me about two years after I had George, it was a delayed reaction."

Ms Hunt, from Westhoughton, described how she started to become withdrawn: "I started to feel really alone, I wasn't doing the things I used to enjoy doing. I didn't talk as much, my relationship suffered. I became distant with everybody.

"I felt a little bit worthless, alone in my own head and didn't know what my purpose was, which is ridiculous because I was a mum and a manager. I bottled it up for a long time."

Even though Ms Hunt, now 27, sought help and had counselling to aid her post-natal depression, she still has tough days: "Some days I still feel really low, it's not something you can ever truly get rid of."

To help tackle the stigma, Ms Hunt is creating a mental health support group, aiming to give people a space to chat for as long as they like, about whatever they need to.

She said: "Depression is a massive problem, but there is still a stigma and it's sad to think that people might not have that support of someone to talk to about these feelings. I always felt worried about talking about it because I was worried my child would get taken away from me, but it's not weird to feel like this, lots of people do."

"It's important to go to the doctors, but sometimes it might not be what you need. There's things you can't explain in a ten-minute appointment at the GP. You might need company, people to look forward to seeing and to keep you busy. I know how it feels to be low and alone at home, feeding your baby, and Christmas can be a really bad time for people who don't have anyone.

"I decided to create a group where people can come and have a cup of coffee, whether you're 20-years-old or 90-years-old. They don't have to pay, people can bring their child if they need to, they can stay as long as they want to. This is for anyone that feels they need some support not necessarily just mums with kids. I want mums, dads, anyone."

The mental health advocate is now looking at potential locations for the meetings. Anyone who can offer a space or would like more information about the sessions can get in touch Ms Hunt via email at cheryllou92@gmail.com.