‘Walking in to Andy’s Man Club was the hardest walk I have ever done - but it was a life saver’

Men speak of life saving benefits of attending club which helps deal with mental health issues

By Stephen Briggs
Sunday, 17th April 2022, 5:00 am

“The hardest walk I ever did was walking in to Andy’s Man Club, to the point I walked past three weeks in a row. But it has been life changing - or should I say life saving.”

For Jim - like many men - dealing with mental health issues has been difficult, with a perceived stigma for many. With the COVID pandemic hitting, mental health has been a huge talking point, with more and more people having their own issues, for a variety of reasons.

However, Jim, like a number of other men, has found the Peterborough branch of Andy’s Man Club, a group designed to help men deal with their mental health problems. The group meet on Monday evenings (not including Bank Holidays) at the Copeland Centre in Bretton, from 7pm until 9pm.

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The group of facilitators at the Peterborough Andy's Man Club

The Peterborough Telegraph spoke to a number of the club members about the benefits they had noticed after going for the first time.

Jim said the decision to go to the club had been ‘life saving.’

He said; “I first went (to Andy’s Man Club) as my psychologist, counsellor, doctor and a lady on the NHS help line all suggested it during my breakdown. It was the hardest decision - in fact the hardest walk I ever did was walking in to Andy’s Man Club, to the point I walked past three weeks in a row.

“I actually only went in when my best friend came with me for support, I was scared of people laughing at me or of breaking down in tears in front of people.

“But it has been life changing - or should I say life saving.

“The club has given me some of my self respect back, and has definitely given me my family and friends back.”

He said he was in a very dark place before he started attending the club - but now that had changed he said; “Now I look forward to a Monday night so I can talk with people about how good or bad the past week has been, maybe help someone else by saying something to help them, but more importantly I now believe I am worth something to people.“

Andrew also said going to the club for the first time was a difficult thing to do - but now described it as the highlight of his week.

He said; “I wanted to go for a while but always came up with excuses not to attend. I was undergoing therapy and that was coming to an end. When I found Andy’s Man Club on Facebook I wanted to go. My entire life and career are all based around ‘men being men’ so it’s difficult to break that stigma.

“Once I arrived and walked in I knew straight away that this was the best decision I made.
“Therapy provided by NHS is good and helpful, but this is a whole different level and to sit with other men who are experiencing the same problems makes you feel normal.”

Rik said one benefit to the club was the fact the first few sessions could be attended ‘virtually.’

He said: “I’ve had a mental health problem for over 20 years now. I was even hospitalised for six months as a result of it. So far, I’ve tried NHS, Work, and cognitive treatments. However, the Andy’s Man club is unique in many aspects.

“The biggest benefit for me is that it is not government led and is completely discreet, unless the person or others are in danger.

“With the latest pandemic and the formation of internet organisations, the difficult task has been made easier. That is, walking through the door and conversing with strangers. Because the difficult task has been simplified. You can now attend one of the online groups, listen without turning on the camera until you’re ready to turn it on or walk through door.”

He urged anyone who is struggling to get help. He said; “Talking or even listening to like-minded people, such as Andy’s Man Club members, increases your chances of obtaining an even more pleasant improvement or long-term recovery.

“If you are unable to walk through the door, please go online. Help is available for men of any age, gender, or ethnicity. Just give it a shot and see how it goes.

“It was the best step forward in my rehabilitation and understanding of my mental health issues and how to live with them for me.”

For more information about Andy’s Man Club, visit https://andysmanclub.co.uk/ or the Peterborough group’s facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Andys-Man-Club-Peterborough-629954537379737

For more information about the online sessions, email [email protected]

When life is difficult, Samaritans are here – day or night, 365 days a year. You can call them for free on 116 123, or visit samaritans.org to find your nearest branch.

READ MORE: The vital help Andy’s Man Club is offering to Peterborough men struggling with their mental health