LISTEN: Alex McClintock explains what the club is all about
As media outlets across the UK prepare to observe the annual Mental Health Minute on Friday 14th March, a support group aimed at men has urged people in Highland Perthshire to get involved and talk about their mental health in a safe setting.
Andy’s Man Club was founded in 2016 by Luke Ambler following the suicide of his brother-in-law, Andy Roberts with the aim of providing a coffee group for men to attend and discuss issues they have gone through and get support from peers.
Project Development Champion at Andy’s Man Club, Alex McClintock, spoke of the ‘toxic masculinity’ that often deters men from speaking about their feelings.
“When you’re going through stuff, you’re told to shake it off and get on with it and we’ve never really talked about whatever was going on in our head but we’re quite happy sitting the pub or football and talking about everyone else in our lives.
“I think Andy’s Man Club gives guys that platform to come and speak to like-minded men that have been going through some of the stuff them and they kind of relate to it and makes If a bit easier to open up and express themselves in that environment.
Alex describes what attending a meeting is like and what takes place such as the five questions that take the form of a talking circle in which anyone who’d like to share holds a ball for their chance to speak before passing it on. The questions pose opportunities for attendee’s at the group to share their own struggles and have discussions leading to peer support but the questions also provide for light-hearted moments to make jokes for example and grow the bond amongst those attending.
“It was uncomfy for me to talk about as well. Four years ago when I started getting involved with Andy’s Man Club and in fact the first meeting I attended I’d never shared my own story with mental health and suicide attempts.
“And actually, I opened up and shared my story for the very first time in front of my best mate of 20 years and the two is just kind of looked each other after we’ve had our shares going ‘I can’t believe we’ve not told each other’.
“I think that’s it’s become easier over the years, going out and talking to people and share my journey with Andy’s Man Club and getting other guys into that environment to open up and share.”