“I couldn’t help but notice a glaring absence of support groups”
The idea to start “For Men To Talk” stemmed from my own experiences grappling with anxiety, depression, and grief, feelings that became all too familiar to me after I tragically lost my mother and sister to cancer. Despite having sought out counseling and therapy to cope with my emotional struggles, I couldn’t help but notice a glaring absence of support groups specifically tailored to men who needed a platform to voice their emotions and experiences.
With the hope of providing a space for men to connect and converse about their feelings, I took the initiative to create a Facebook page for “For Men To Talk” on Christmas Eve in 2019. Not long after, on February 13, 2020, our first group meeting convened at Jones’ Café in Biggleswade, with nineteen individuals in attendance.
In this welcoming and supportive environment, we discussed a wide range of topics, from casual interests like football, television, and movies to more profound conversations about our emotions and personal experiences.
“…for those who may need further assistance.”
Throughout my own journey, I have faced considerable struggles, but I have also been fortunate enough to have people in my life with whom I could openly discuss my feelings.
I understand that not all men find it as easy to open up, which is why I believe it is essential to foster a sense of camaraderie and understanding through these informal group meetings. Although we don’t have any experts on hand during our sessions, we ensure that information regarding professional support is readily available for those who may need further assistance.
Our open-door policy encourages any man who feels the need to talk about their emotions to join our community and find solace in the shared experiences of others.
In my pursuit to better support those who attend “For Men To Talk,” I have completed several qualifications and workshops, including the TQUK Level 1 Award in Mental Health Awareness, Mind (BLMK) Mental Health Awareness, Suicide Awareness & Supporting Crisis, and Safeguarding in Adults workshops, as well as a First Aider certification.
My efforts in creating and sustaining this supportive environment for men have been recognized with a BBC “Make A Difference” award, which honors individuals who have a significant positive impact on their community, and the “Role Model of the Year” and “Winner of Winners” accolades at the Luton & Bedfordshire Community Award.