“They show up in the rain”: Men walking together for mental health

In the UK, suicide is the largest murderer of men under the age of 46. In response, men’s walking groups are working on the taboo of poor mental health and launching to help vulnerable broke.

“Some time ago, after a traumatic incident, I realized that I hadn’t dealt with it and needed to talk to someone,” recalls Dean Corney, a London Fire Brigade firefighter. “I went to work the next day and gathered the chaps and said:” Look, I haven’t dealt with it, so I need to talk. “Others come forward and deal with mental health issues. The reaction was immediate and positive, including admitting that he needed help. “

In response, Corney and his colleague Mark Smith have decided to set up a men’s walking group in Beckenham Place Park, southeast London, for men of all disciplines, not just firefighters. bottom.

“I thought there were only two people, but 10 people got together, some men participated regularly, and some men went in and out as needed, and the group became stronger and stronger. “

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The group provides a safe and unjudgmental space for men to open up, says Corney.

“Men often don’t want to show their weaknesses in front of women and their families, and likewise don’t want to come to a limited space like a meeting in a public hall,” he says. “But walking in nature and in the fresh air is good for you in many ways. Being with other like-minded men, whether you want to talk or not, is itself Is useful. “

Similar groups have been created across the UK, especially for men, who are actively trying to walk and talk in nature.

Appropriate broke club One of them. It was founded by Scott Johnson who started sharing his own video on Facebook as he roamed southeast London while he was talking about his fight against anxiety. He urged other men to join him and said, “Don’t suffer silently, young people.” Weekly walking and talk meetups are currently taking place in Southwark, Greenwich, Woolwich and Warrington.

Mental health is not taboo in such groups. Instead, participants are encouraged to share their experiences and issues.

Talking openly about mental health is something that needs urgent encouragement, especially among men. According to the SamaritanThe suicide rate for men is about three times higher than for women in the United Kingdom. In fact, suicide is the leading murderer of men under the age of 46.

They know they can deal with anything because they can talk about it during their weekly walks

But while many white men are learning to walk and talk, it can be a difficult hurdle for black men to overcome, explains Maxwell Ayamba, founder of 100 BlackMenWalk. To do.His group was originally formed to seduce a middle-aged black man into the Yorkshire countryside, but is now open to everyone and calling himself. Walk4Health..

“The only place black middle-aged men tend to share a common space is the hairdressers who reveal their disgusting emotions and frustrations they face every day. Mental Health is in these communities. So it’s still taboo, people aren’t ready to talk about it, and many are committing themselves. “

“Creating a space where people are treated with kindness, love, and respect without being judged has greatly helped our members,” he adds.

Walk4Health was launched to encourage men with a BAME background to get out of nature.Image: Maxwell Ayamba

Returning to London, Corney says the walking group he launched was so successful that it created a sect. “We have always been approached to establish new groups in other areas and now we have 5 regular walks. People have been hit by torrential rains and prove how much these groups are needed. I am. “

He added that the group made a clear difference in the lives of the participants. “Our small group has five people who took long sick leave but are now back at work. They say the group walk is a” reset “of the week. .. They know they can deal with anything because they can talk about it during the weekly walk. “

Other places where men connect

Men's mental health

Lions barber group

Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Charity, Lions barber group Train barbers on how to find symptoms of poor mental health and encourage men to talk about their problems.

The Lions Barbers Shop on Carnaby Street in London was founded in 2015 by Tom Chapman. We take full advantage of the famous small talk opportunities that occur when men make haircuts and enjoy shaving.

In addition to being able to discuss and discover mental health problems, the benefits gained will be donated to raise awareness of suicide prevention and train more hair professionals on mental health support. ..

Image: Agustin Fernandez

man down

Man Down is a Cornwall-based non-profit community interest company. We offer informal groups for men who are struggling with mental health issues to meet and discuss openly without judgment.

Biweekly meetings are held throughout Cornwall, trying to reach as many communities as possible. man down We also host activities such as the Three Peaks Challenge, weekend retreats, and awareness-raising events.

Image: Aaron Blanco Tejedor

Men’s shed

This pioneering initiative brings together men (mainly in huts) to participate in activities such as woodworking, metalworking, repairs and car manufacturing.

Men exchange skills and knowledge and simply talk to each other. Men’s shed Social gatherings help fight loneliness and isolation.

Image: Annie Gray
Main image: Fire Fighters Charity

“They show up in the rain”: Men walking together for mental health

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