• Watch our report on the group's efforts during coronavirus below

A Bristol-based men's mental health support group has reported a 30% rise in the number of new members since the coronavirus lockdown started.

Talk Club was co-founded by friends Ben Akers and Gavin Thorpe, in a bid to encourage men to chat more openly about their mental health.

In just one year, the community has expanded and helped groups of men set up regular meetings all over the world. There are now 35.

Like so many other support groups, they have had to find new ways of keeping in touch since the start of the pandemic.

The club's conversations about mental health - or 'mental fitness' as they refer to it as - are now happening online, with virtual meetings taking place every week.

Member numbers haven’t dropped though.

More men than ever have been joining the group to get support during the lockdown.

Ben and Gavin host the Bristol meetings every Wednesday evening, with fitness classes and live music also added to the support lineup.

It’s here to remind all men that they are not alone, that other men feel exactly the same way they do, and if we share our feelings we can become mentally strong.

Talk Club
Behind the scenes: they recorded the single in a London studio and hope to raise as much money as possible to help save men's lives. Credit: Talk Club

The group has now released a single - Soul to Save - to raise as much money as possible to help the group continue its important work.

In the UK men are three times more likely than women to take their lives, according to Samaritans.

Men aged 45-49 have the highest rate of suicide, with this number still rising.

You can purchase the Talk Club single here.

To find out more about the group, or how to set up your own, visit the website.

If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health, there are plenty of places you can go to for support and advice: