A new service aimed at getting men talking about issues and improving mental health launches next week in Newcastle-under-Lyme.
Get Men Talking is officially launching on Monday 9 March and sees a twice a week drop in service open 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.
The service is also encouraging local businesses to get involved by hosting drop in sessions for their staff, or speaking at drop in about specific topics, such as financial and legal advice around relationship breakdowns or getting involved in volunteering or activities to help reduce loneliness.
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.
“Men can often feel embarrassed, ashamed and see it as a sign of weakness to access support. This can be because of male pride or stereotypical and societal beliefs.
“Through advertising, awareness raising events and easy to access venues, men will have a greater opportunity to access professional support.
“More education and publicity around the issues that affect men is paramount in enabling them to seek support. This service is crucial if we are to break the cycle and work more effectively with men.”
The service is run by Glow, Newcastle partnership and men’s mental health project, A&T Wellbeing.
Andy Oakes is from A&T wellbeing and runs the football themed wellbeing programme, called Goal Difference. The 10 week programme uses football themes, stories and metaphors to help people with a variety of mental health and social problems to address their issues in a positive way: “Men don’t talk – statistically men are more likely than women to not seek advice or help for poor mental health issues.
“I’ve worked in mental health with the NHS and the local authority, so I am aware of the issues surrounding men accessing services.
“Any opportunity to provide men with the space and time to talk about how they feel in a safe environment has to be a positive development.”
Councillor Helena Maxfield, Cabinet member for community safety and wellbeing, said: “The Newcastle Partnership is committed to working with other organisations to make the borough a safer place to live.
“Male mental health and wellbeing is a growing concern that affects a diverse range of residents, including families. Around one in eight men have a mental health problem and men are three times more likely to commit suicide than females but less likely to ask for help.
“For these reasons the Council, as lead agency for the partnership, has commissioned A&T Wellbeing and Glow to run a new male hub pilot initiative thanks to £15,000 from the Staffordshire Commissioner’s Locality Deal Fund.
“Their combined and extensive experience in this field will provide a unique and innovative service – involving weekly drop-ins, training sessions and a 10-week football themed programme – 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 launch event is happening on Monday 9 March at Jubliee2 between 2pm and 4pm.
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.