“It’s about people helping people” and trying to “inspire people to get better.”
The number of deaths by suicide in Teesside, particularly Middlesbrough, is of the highest in the whole of the United Kingdom, most of the victims being men.
Organisations like Men Tell health, dedicate themselves to improving the mental health of adult men within the Teesside area. Gary Pollard, Chief Executive of Men Tell Health, told us more about their work to support these men.
Gary Pollard Chief Executive of Men Tell Health
They have launched a new online chat service ran by their helpline team, SpeakEasy Live. A confidential and anonymous chat facility for those who wish to reach out and seek help.
Gary explained that “pride, masculinity, social issues” amongst others, keep men back from speaking up about their mental health. SpeakEasy Live provides a more comfortable and confidential service for those men “who aren’t in that place” where they feel they can speak out to someone in person.
The chat facility is a covert expansion to the SpeakEasy groups that are ran every week by Men Tell Health. Men can meet up in cafes and coffee shops and interact together in an informal and safe environment. Gary says “there is no pressure on them to talk, there is no forms for them to fill in” simply chatting over a “free cup of tea or coffee.”
“It’s about people helping people” within these peer support groups and being surrounded by “other people who were maybe in the same place as them.”
Men can find these SpeakEasy groups across Teesside, in Middlesbrough, Stockton, Redcar and Yarm.
The SpeakEasy groups come together in a way that is different to a typical support group, less of an awkward circle time talk, but “more a-kin to mates coming together over a brew.”
To bring Middlesbrough down to the suicide National average, would mean saving seven lives a year, which is what organisations like Men Tell Health are aiming to achieve by bringing “support to an area that needs it” and “inspire people to get better”.
Mental Health organisations in Teesside have teamed up with members of Middlesbrough Council, in a bid to tackle the suicide cases in the area and the stigma surrounding the issue. Hosting events like Boro Man Can, which launched earlier in February, see’s males of all ages and backgrounds come together to share their experiences, meet new people and hopefully encourage other men to get involved and look after their mental health.
If you are looking to reach out and speak to the Men Tell Health team you can contact them via: