15 Minutes… Andy’s Man Club
Andy’s Man Club is a Men’s Mental Health Charity doing phenomenal work with their ethos of ‘it’s okay to talk’ around the UK and locally in Exeter, Honiton, and Newton Abbot. One Mag’s Mary Bennellick caught up with local representatives from the charity making great strides in normalising men’s mental health and challenging stigmas through their free-to-attend talking groups.
Tell us, how did a charity that started off as a one-off group in Halifax, spread nationwide supporting men’s mental health? In mid-2016, nine men met in a small room in the archetypal Yorkshire town of Halifax with the simple aim of talking through their issues and helping each other deal with their mental health. All in attendance agreed there was a magic in that room that had to be shared. That was the start of a movement that has grown faster than anyone first involved could have ever imagined. Fast forward almost six years and Andy’s Man Club now has groups at over 100 locations across the UK.
What motivated the creation of the charity? Andy’s Man Club takes its name from Andrew Roberts, a man who sadly took his own life in early 2016, aged just 23. Andy’s family had no inkling that he was suffering or struggling to that extent and as a result, looked deeper into male suicide and men’s mental health. They soon discovered that male suicide is the biggest killer of men under 50, with male mental health surrounded by well-ingrained cultural stigma in the UK. Andy’s mum and brother-in-law came up with the idea of a group where men aged 18 and above can speak openly about their mental health in a judgment-free, non-clinical environment. Groups are completely volunteer-led, with the vast majority of group facilitators having first interacted with Andy’s Man Club when they came through the door as a service user.
Locally, you have regular groups that meet on Mondays at 7pm at Exeter Football Club, Honiton Rugby Club, Newton Abbot Rugby Club and online too – how do you think this has impacted the local community? Andy’s Man Club has had a huge impact in recent years in bringing a range of age groups and backgrounds together in unity of knowing we aren’t alone. The local people have been great in sharing all we do and are quick to refer people to us who are asking for help. For example, in just under four years in Newton Abbot, we have seen thousands of men come through the doors, each one needing help, which they receive. Families are grateful and we often hear children say: “we got our daddy back, thank you”.
How can we all play our part to support those who may be struggling with suicidal thoughts or their mental health? Each person can play a part in helping that one person by sharing posts on social media, having a flyer in your car window, and by being proud to talk to others about the support that is available. Remember to ask how someone is and give time to allow for a real answer. Come along to a meeting and bring a friend – you never know how life saving that might be.
Find out more about support near you at www.andysmanclub.co.uk
See more like this
This manageable there and back route offers easy walking and wheeling along the eastern side of the reservoir and to the dams, plus additional access to the wildlife trail in the Burrator Arboretum