Content warning: mention of suicide
Andys Man Club is a men’s suicide prevention and mental health charity, which offers free-to-attend peer-to-peer support groups across the UK for men over 18.
The charity has recently announced they will be opening a facility in Stirling on Monday, April 17, located at the Raploch Community Centre.
Sessions will run each Monday from 7-9pm, both in person and online – excluding bank holidays.
The charity takes its name from Andrew Roberts, a man who tragically took his own life in 2016 at 23 years of age.
Elaine Roberts and Luke Ambler, the mother and brother-in-law of Andrew, set up the charity in 2016 following his death.
Their aim is to break the stigma around men’s mental health – with suicide being the biggest killer of men under 50 in the UK.
The opening of the facility arrives at a crucial time, with many struggling to cope with the current cost-of-living crisis.
Alex McClintock, 48, is a project development champion for Andys Man Club, and has been involved with the charity since April 2017.
He believes that the new facility will be pivotal to the local community in Stirling.
“We’re right in the middle of Raploch which is historically one of the most deprived areas in Stirling, said McClintock.
In December 2022, UK charity the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute reported that 17% of respondents from a survey stated they had “experienced suicidal ideation over the past nine months owing to the rising cost of living”.
“Social isolation is a massive problem in the UK,” said McClintock.
There’s many people in their houses who are unable to speak to anyone or unable to work, and some are also freezing”.
“Even if they come in for a warm space and have a cup of tea, they’ll be through the door and we’ll be happy to have them at our first session on April 17”.
According to Champion Health, 115 people die by suicide in the UK each week- 75% of these deaths are male.
With the work of charities such as Andys Man Club, McClintock believes that the awareness surrounding male suicide rates in the UK and mental health has grown significantly.
“Since lockdown more people are aware of what’s going on. We really had a pandemic pre-COVID, and that was a mental health pandemic. There was over 5,000 men a year taking their own lives in the UK alone which is horrendous”.
McClintock has helped to establish 29 support groups across Scotland.
“When I first got involved, we were chuffed to get a hundred guys through the door on a Monday night. Now, we average 2,800 a week across 120 venues. It’s getting better, more men are willing to open up and talk”.
McClintock has been open about his own mental health struggles, which he believes has helped to encourage others to also speak out and normalise the conversation.
“I’ve suffered with my own mental health issues since I was 21. I’ve been on and off medication and I had a failed attempt to take my own life in 2015”, said McClintock.
“I was bullied for being different. I’m 6ft9, and I was always taller than everyone else growing up. I’ve always been picked on for my height”.
“Andys Man Club has been a huge part of my life. I would have never shared my story or the struggles I went through mentally without that platform”.
For more information and support, please visit: https://andysmanclub.co.uk
If you or anyone you know is struggling, please contact Samaritans on 116 123.
Featured Image Credit: Alex McClintock
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