Get Men Talking officially launched on Monday and sees a twice weekly drop in service for men, where they can get guidance and advice on a range of issues, as well as a 10 week football themed programme to improve men’s mental health.
Thirty Newcastle-based organisations and businesses attended the launch at Jubilee 2 to find out how the project can help them and their staff, as well as what they can do to support the project.
Ways businesses can get involved include, adverting and signposting staff and customers to the service, hosting drop in sessions for their staff, speaking at drop ins about specific topics, such as financial and legal advice or providing volunteering and activities to help reduce loneliness.
Rob Kellett, men’s outreach worker for Father Hudson’s Care, was one of those in the audience: “Today has been really exciting and really positive. It’s been great to get everyone together and try and break down some walls. Anything we can do to facilitate breaking the stigma and getting men talking has got to be a good thing.
“I think if you have a broken arm, you know what to do to fix that but when you have mental health issues it’s a very individual recovery – everyone is different – and you’ve also got that stigma. We need to look at mental health as something that’s just as much of an illness as anything physical. I think it is changing, but it’s slowly changing and we want to speed that up.”
Richard Hughes, from domestic abuse charity, Glow runs the male drop ins, which can give support and guidance on a range of issues including finance and debt, housing, relationships, substance misuse, mental health and careers: “This is a much needed service as there is no other drop in service which is offering a holistic approach for men.
“We’ve met a load of fascinating people today and we’re looking forward to working with them and for developing a really great service for men in Newcastle-under-Lyme.”
The service is run by Glow, Newcastle partnership and men’s mental health project, A&T Wellbeing, who run the football based wellbeing project, Goal Difference.
Andy Oakes is from A&T wellbeing: “I think today’s event went really well. We had a great cross section of people who came and lots of people have been coming up to me afterwards asking how they can get involved in the project and ways they can help us. The more we get the message out about the project and the more men we can help, the better.”
As part of the launch event, three men stood up and spoke about their experience dealing with mental health. One of those speaking was ex-professional footballer and Hubb foundation community business partner, Adam Yates: “It’s been great to see so many agencies down here that are all looking at working together to help.
“I think everybody at some point will go through some mental health issue and the more organisations that can get involved in helping offer support or supporting those who do the better.
“When I played football there was nothing to support the players other than the FA and I think a lot of other companies don’t have wellbeing departments either. It’s important for organisations to be aware of the support they can offer their staff.”
Councillor Helena Maxfield, Cabinet member for community safety and wellbeing, said: “Male mental health and wellbeing is a growing concern that affects a diverse range of residents, including families.
“This unique and innovative service – involving weekly drop-ins, training sessions and a 10-week football themed programme – is designed to encourage men to talk about their feelings in an informal environment. It’s open to any male, and they can also be signposted to other services that can help with the root causes of declining mental health such as gambling or alcohol misuse.”
The male drop in service runs on Mondays from 5pm to 7pm at King Street Studios and Wednesdays at the Guildhall between 9.30am and 12.30pm.