'It has empowered me' - Andy's Man Club provides support in Cumbria

A suicide prevention charity has established dedicated groups throughout Cumbria to help men struggling with depression and anxiety.

Andy's Man Club offers support groups which provide a safe space for men to offload issues they are facing.

Suicide rates in Copeland and Carlisle are almost double the national average for England.

Every Monday, around 40 men meet at Carlisle United's Community Sport's Trust building to meet up and share their stories.

Chris Green, Lead Facilitator, said: “I suffered with mental health for the last 15 years. Then Covid came along and my son was struggling with mental health.

"He was self-harming and stuff like that and tried to take his life a few times. Unfortunately, he then actually did take his own life.

"For me, yes it is Andy’s Man Club but we all have our stories to tell. I don’t think this kind of thing was around for my son and if it was, would he have used it, I like to think he would."

The group provides support to men in Cumbria. Credit: ITV

The group offers people the chance to open up about their mental health issues and concerns to others who are facing or have faced similar difficulties.

Shaun Laverty, said: “I have been coming since the first week in January, I just needed support.

"I had a tough time last year and it has supported me so much. I want to give back to others and hopefully support them."

With many men bottling up mental health concerns for fear of being stigmatised, this group are at pains to point out that their sessions are entirely non-judgmental and everybody is welcome.

Scott Squires, said: “The important thing that people say to me is that it doesn’t matter if you come every week, it matters that you know it is there.

"If you have a bad week you can come along, if you can come every week it is brilliant. If you come along once and never come back then at least you know that other people have been through the same sort of things.

"You don’t have to feel bad about it or embarrassed you can offload in an environment you feel comfortable in."

Martin Fisher, said: “We would walk you in and introduce you to the lads. Give you a coffee, tea, biscuit or cake then have a chat with you and then get started.

"It helps me so much it has empowered me to give something back and help the next man. If it at least helps one person then it has done its job."

If you require any help or support these are some of the options that are available to you:

  • Andy's Man Club - https://andysmanclub.co.uk/contact-us - INFO@ANDYSMANCLUB.CO.UK

  • Samaritans - https://www.samaritans.org/how-we-can-help/contact-samaritan/ - 116 123

  • Young Minds - https://www.youngminds.org.uk/

  • Mind - https://www.mind.org.uk/ - 0300 123 3393

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