Sheffield men’s mental health support group embarks on nationwide tour in aid of suicide awareness
Forty men from a men’s mental health charity are taking part in their biggest awareness event yet this weekend - to mark World Suicide Prevention Day.
The men are all part of Andy’s Man Club, a support group specifically for men, operating in locations all over the UK.
They want to continue to get men talking and as their Facebook page summarises ‘men are talking, men are sharing, men are staying alive’.
Carl McKeown, who co runs the Sheffield club, said: “It is a great opportunity to meet up with guys. To provide support for people that don’t know that they need it.
“It’s giving people the opportunity to talk - a show of solidarity.
“There is still stigma about mental health and suicide. We want to break down that stigma.”
The latest figures show that, nationwide, 660 men attended an Andy’s Man Club session last week and the tour is a way of raising more awareness and ‘getting more guys to the groups’.
Two coaches bearing the trademark Andy’s Man Club logo will be setting off from Halifax – the town where Luke Ambler started the first group - at 9am tomorrow, Saturday, September 7.
One coach will head north, passing through North Yorkshire and Scotland, while the other coach will head south, passing through Devon and the north west of England.
The south bus is expected to reach Sheffield Amphitheatre, overlooking Sheffield railway station, at 6pm on Sunday, September 8.
The men will stop to meet the crowd here and will continue to spread the word through Sheffield city centre afterwards.
At each location, they will be chatting to people about male mental health, as well as handing out leaflets and wristbands.
Not only will the tour take the men to 22 different towns and cities where Andy’s Man Club has branches, visits will be made to certain bridges claimed to be ‘suicide hot spots’.
Run by volunteers in their spare time, the charity hopes to reduce the 6,507 suicides that were registered in 2018 - according to the Office for National Statistics - as three quarters of this total were men.
Sheffield’s branch opened its doors only seven months ago but its success is growing, with about 30 regular attendees from a range of backgrounds.
Carl, 34, believes this shows that men are beginning to talk and wants to encourage more men to join.
Currently, men meet at South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue community rooms on Eyre Street, every Monday at 7pm.
Carl said: “Anyone is welcome. It is for anyone and everyone in between. There is no limitation.”
World Suicide Prevention Day is on Tuesday, September 10.
For more information about the Sheffield Andy’s Man Club, see: https://www.facebook.com/Andys-Man-Club-Sheffield-370106287084666/