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Andy’s Man Club – A safe space for men to discuss mental health

Posted: December 14, 2022

Did you know that around 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem at some point in their lifetime and that men generally report lower levels of life satisfaction than women?

Poor mental health is an important public health challenge and unfortunately significant mental health inequalities exist in Scotland. Improving the mental health and wellbeing of the population is a national priority because this is recognised as having a positive effect on many different aspects of society.

Sadly, three times as many men as women die by suicide, and men aged 40-49 have the highest suicide rates in the UK. Up until fairly recently, men were considered ‘weak’ if they talked about their feelings and life struggles, a notion that is still often held within older generational men. Nowadays however, and for the younger generations in particular, talking about mental health is more widely accepted and it is no longer considered taboo for men to open up and discuss their feelings.

As part of our wider Workplace Wellbeing initiatives, Hillcrest has been working in collaboration with Andy’s Man Club (AMC) to set up a regular talking group – a place for men to come together in a safe environment to talk about issues and problems they have faced or are currently facing. The charity was formed by Luke Ambler and his mother-in-law Elaine, after his brother-in-law Andy took his own life. AMC aims to end the stigma surrounding men’s mental health and to help men through the power of conversation.

Alex Mcclintock from AMC recently came along to our Edinburgh office and ran a talking group for 12 members of the Maintenance team. Dylan Ford, who helped organise this session, says: “I was very excited to get this meeting set up in Edinburgh with AMC. I personally know the effects of someone not talking as I lost a family member from suicide and had that person talked to anyone – family or friends – then maybe the outcome could have been a lot different. I have experienced the pain it has caused and I would not wish that on anyone.  The session with Alex gave some of the guys in the Edinburgh maintenance team a chance to let off steam, share their problems and have a chat over a cuppa. It was really beneficial to all of us who attended, and provided a safe space for us all to talk about our stresses and life issues.

We are all different people, at different ages, with a lot of different things going on in our lives. And thankfully our chat with Alex helped address some of that. Everyone that came along felt it made a positive difference and we are looking to set up some more sessions at our other Hillcrest offices next year. Another positive outcome of this session is that we’ve also set up a walking group, which any of the guys are welcome to join. The aim of the group is to give us all the chance to regularly get together for a walk and a chat in the fresh air. Something as simple as this can really make a world of difference to those needing a bit of support.”

To further show our support for this important charity, we are in the process of featuring the AMC logo on our trades workers’ t-shirts, as well as having the AMC logo on the backs of all our white fleet vehicles.

You can find out more by visiting Andy’s Man Club website here: https://andysmanclub.co.uk/