“It’s Okay to talk”
Andy’s Man Club, a men’s mental health group is about to launch in Manchester, and hopes to change the way men think about their emotions.
The group will meet every Monday at 7pm at Federation House in Federation Street.
Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45. In England and Wales alone, 12 men die by suicide every day – that’s one man every two hours.
Andy’s Man Club was started by Luke Ambler in Halifax back in July 2016, after his brother-in-law, Andy Roberts, killed himself at the age of 23.
Project development worker for the group, Andrew Greenway said:
“There were no warning signs. He spent the weekend with his family and on Tuesday he took the decision to end his life.
“Luke saw the devastating effect Andy’s death had on his family and wanted to give men a platform to talk and share before things spiral out of control.
“He wanted to stop families having to go through what his family are still going through.”
Mr Greenway said that nine men had turned up to the first ever meeting in Halifax, but by the next week, fifteen had turned up to Andy’s Man Club. Within a few weeks of starting the club, Luke decided to start an online campaign, which hoped to raise awareness around men’s mental health.
The campaign started with sharing a picture of himself doing the ‘OK’ sign, which was posted with the hashtag #ITSOKAYTOTALK. Within four weeks, it had been replicated and shared by 100,000 people; making it the biggest mental health campaign in the world.
Mr Greenway said:
“There are now 17 clubs across the country and 391 men walk through the doors of those clubs last week alone.
“They’re free to attend. You just turn up, grab a brew and talk as much or as little as you want. Our group ethos is that it’s okay to talk, but not everyone is at that point in their journey so they can sit in silence.
“The sessions are peer to peer, which is one of the reasons it works so well. Some people may have tried the professional route and not gone on with it, or they might not be ready for it.”
Mr Greenway said:
“I started the group in Oldham and the first night I walked through the door I thought ‘I don’t need to share with these people, I don’t know why I’m here’. But as soon as it was my turn to talk, 33 years’ worth of stuff came out of my mouth.
“The bloke that walked into the group that day and the bloke that walked out are two completely different men.
“We get a full range of guys through the door, some say the club saved their lives, some say they just needed to be part of something.
“It becomes a brotherhood, you form really strong bonds. It’s such a unique organisation, it really is a privilege to be part of it.”
Andy’s Man Club is open to any men over the age of 18, not just those with mental health issues. There is no referral, no signing in, no registration and no charge. For more information click here.