Bedfordshire support group encourages men to talk about mental health

  • Watch this video report by ITV Anglia's Callum Fairhurst

A group of men facing mental health issues or grief say meeting up to talk about what they are going through has helped them to deal with their own difficult situations.

The group was set up by Luke Newman, who became depressed and anxious after the death of his mum and sister from cancer.

He had already benefitted from speaking to others, and decided to found a group he called simply For Men to Talk.

And the Bedfordshire-based group does what it says - offering a chance for men to meet up weekly online to talk, but once a month they also come together to have a walk and chat in person.

Some of those that take part say it has been a saving grace.

Mr Newman, founder of the group, said: "Not only do we talk about how we're feeling, but we also talk about movies, TV, football, and have a few dad jokes as well.

"It improves our mental health. We start off with a cup of tea, go for a walk for an hour and half, have another tea and a cake and go on our merry way and hopefully feel better."

And many people that join the sessions say they are a huge help, among them Steve Whitney, whose son took his own life in February 2020. 

He said: "I went initially to establish where I was with my own mental health. I didn't know whether I was coping well with my son's death or if I was hiding behind myself.

"There are times when we're very low, and they're the times we get in deep and help each other."

That spirit of camaraderie is what the group promotes to help others get through their toughest times.

Their main message is that whoever you are "there are people out there that will listen - don't be afraid to talk".

Anyone affected by this story and looking for help or advice can contact:

  • NHS's mental health support website for help and support with grief, anxiety and other mental health concerns.

  • Mind the mental health charity which promotes the views and needs of people with mental health issues. Phone 0300 123 3393 (Monday-Friday, 9am-6pm)

  • The Mental Health Foundation provides information and support for anyone with mental health problems or learning disabilities.

  • CALM the Campaign Against Living Miserably Phone 0800 585858 (Daily, 5pm-midnight)

  • Samaritans an organisation offering confidential support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair. Phone 116 123 (a free 24-hour helpline)

  • Papyrus prevention of young suicide. Phone 0800 068 41 41