I’m Tom, one of the co-founders of We Are MENtal Health. The idea for the group came about in early 2019. I was in the car with my friend and just had a light bulb moment, I turned to him and said “I want to set up a group for men’s mental health”. After setting up a Facebook page in July and committing myself to it, I eventually set up a date for the first group which was in the middle of October. Ryan phoned me the night before and asked if I wanted him to come and support, which was amazing and obviously a huge yes. Since then it’s basically been the two of us right from the start and hopefully we’ll grow in the near future.

Ultimately our aim is to have an impact on the number of suicides and drive down the taboo and stigma on talking about our mental health, our struggles and stop bottling things up till we feel our only way out is to take our own lives. We want to provide men with a safe, trusting space with no fear or judgement or ridicule to come a d feel comfortable to open up.

In the short space of time we’ve been up and running we have created a community, we have provided men with an opportunity to take hold of their mental health and open up, to talk to other men going through similar things. We’ve shown them they are not alone and that there is nothing to be embarrassed or afraid by. As well as achieving this, we have also launched Friday Fit Club which is a free monthly event encouraging exercise to promote mental fitness as well as physical and we are getting involved with bigger projects with other mental health organisations.

We don’t want the talking to just stay in our group sessions. We want to break down the stigma within families at home as well. When people come to our groups, we want them to go home and break the stigma there, talk to their wife’s, husbands, partners, and their children. If we can change the mindset from a young age and educate properly around mental health and the support out there then hopefully the generations to come will be less likely to commit suicide and more likely to reach for another outlet, like We Are MENtal Health.