The Voluntary Action Calderdale column with Emma Worsley

Just turn up: Andy's Man Club offers peer-to-peer support.
Just turn up: Andy's Man Club offers peer-to-peer support.

It’s a common misconception that some men can’t talk about their feelings.

They can.

More and more organisations are making it their mission to provide men with a friendly, supportive environment and let them know its OK to talk.

Earlier this month, the Men’s Health Forum hosted their annual Men’s Health Week.

The theme for this year was Men’s Health by Numbers and the key figures about Men’s Health.

Out of all the figures, the one that really hit hard was that 75% of suicides (three out of four) are by men. Such a difficult topic to discuss, Suicide has a ripple effect on all those affected and their local community.

Contributing to a nationwide effort to remove the stigma around male mental health and help in suicide prevention, the local voluntary sector in Calderdale and West Yorkshire have set up several initiatives for men.

In this month’s column, I will focus on two such organisations whose main aim is to support men’s mental health and to make sure men feel supported and heard.

Survivors West Yorkshire

Survivors West Yorkshire is a small charity offering specialist support to male survivors of childhood sexual abuse and adult rape.

Established nearly twenty years ago, its main service – ‘Ben’s Place’ – is a pioneering and secure specialist digital cloud based counselling service. It currently provides professional counselling, emotional support and advice.

Its counsellors are BACP registered and have undergone specialist training to work online.

The free counselling service is available to all males (aged 16 years plus) throughout the whole of West Yorkshire. Ben’s Place is named after a West Yorkshire male survivor of childhood sexual abuse.

Ben took his own life shortly after his 23rd birthday.

Ben’s Place currently only offers online services. However, there are future plans to provide a range of offline workshops and outreach to support male survivors to live a thriving and healthy life beyond their individual experiences of sexual violence abuse.

For more information about Survivors West Yorkshire and Ben’s Place, please visit the website www.survivorswestyorkshire.org.uk

Andy’s Man Club

Andy’s Man Club facilitates peer-to-peer support groups for any man to attend aged 18 and above.

There are no professionals involved; its men helping each other through life’s storms through shared experiences.

There is no referral process, no signing in, no registration or charge. All you need to do is turn up on a Monday evening for 7pm (except bank holidays).

There is no need to have a mental health condition or for anyone to be suicidal to attend.

The Andy’s Man Club ethos of #itsoktotalk has spread and the charity now have 20 groups across the UK and Scotland that see over 500 men a week walk through their doors.

In Calderdale, Andy’s Man Club has two groups held at The MBI Shay Stadium, Halifax and Hebden Bridge Town Hall.

For more information about Andy’s Man Club, please email info@andysmanclub.co.uk or visit www.andysmanclub.co.uk.

Next month’s column will focus on the organisations who deliver services and training around strengthening life skills.