'It's OK to talk' - Football coach to hold support groups for men across Pontefract
A Pontefract football coach will host peer groups to support men through issues surrounding their mental health.
Mental health issues in men remain taboo, with male suicide rates on the spike, many men often suffer in silence when they experience depression, anxiety and isolation.
After worrying data from the Office for National Statistics proved that suicide rates for men living in England and Wales peaked at its worst in 2019 for two decades, charities have been doing their bit to encourage men not to suffer in silence.
Andy’s Man Club is among those charities that have been doing their bit to help men going through inner turmoil, by providing a network of free drop-in's aimed at helping men open up about their mental health problems and reducing stigma.
Now, Lee Connolly, Junior Coach at Pontefract Collieries, will be introducing these sessions to the Pontefract community.
Lee said: “I’ve just finished a course in mental health support and it’s been a massive eye opener for me.
“It’s important to me that I bring it to Pontefract because I have first hand experience with friends and family members who’ve struggled with their own mental health.
“With that, I was shocked to see that there isn’t anything like this for men's mental health in the area.
“So I think introducing Andy’s Man Club to the area is going to be massive for the town.”
The meetings will aim to provide the people of Pontefract and the wider surrounding area a place to meet with other people who will listen and provide support.
Men can discuss what’s on each other’s minds in an unbiased setting, and assist each other to work through any bottled issues.
And Lee assures that the group can signpost people to help from professionals if needs be.
Lee hopes to start running them every Monday, starting in May, at the Pontefract Collieries Football ground on Beechnut Lane.
Lee said: “The best advice I could give to anyone struggling is to talk , that is the main thing.
“So many people brush their problems under the carpet, so I hope this group can help at least one person then hopefully more will come.
“Please don't be scared to speak - the charity’s motto is that It’s OK to talk.
“People can always ask for help and we’ve got to keep working to break the taboo of men staying silent."
To find out more, see the Andy's Man Club website