Salvation Army group encourages men to talk to improve mental health

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As Mental Health Awareness Week runs until May 19, a Salvation Army group that encourages men to open up and talk to improve their mental health is celebrating its first anniversary.

Mally’s Manclub meets every Wednesday evening between 6.30pm and 8.30pm at Horden Salvation Army in Dene Street and provides a relaxed environment for people to come and talk, play games or simply sit and read.

It was set up by Mally, a Salvation Army volunteer, after he experienced his own mental and physical health problems and decided he wanted to help others.

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Mally said: “It’s a place where guys can come and chill out for a couple of hours. There isn’t a pressure on them to spill their hearts out, but I am encouraging them to talk. If they can sit down and talk that’s a victory.

MallyMally
Mally

“If just one person goes out of the club feeling a bit better about themselves then I feel like I’ve done a good job.

“There’s hot drinks and snacks, plus games like chess and dominoes, sometimes a quiz. If you don’t want to get involved you can just sit and read in the company of others, and if you do want to talk it’s an open and safe space to do so.”

According to research reported by the Mental Health Foundation, three times as many men as women die by suicide while men are less likely to access psychological therapies than women.*

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Mally hopes that by creating a space for men to talk to each other they might feel more encouraged to get help if they are really struggling with their mental health.

Mally said: “Men do find it harder to open up and talk but it does help. In my case if it was not for talking and having the support from The Salvation Army I would not be here today.

“In 2019 I did not want to be here anymore. I’d thrown all my medication for depression and physical health problems in the bin. By 2021 I was feeling really horrible, my health was very bad. I went to the doctor and she said ‘do you know how close you were to having a heart attack?’ and that upset my mum. I knew I had to get better as I couldn’t leave her.

“Angela (Salvation Army community mission facilitator) was a big help in seeing me through that time. I’m grateful that I am still here and that I’m going back to church. The Salvation Army is my family now.

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“The group has about 10 or 11 people most weeks, but I want to encourage more people to come along now we’ve been up and running for a year. I’m thinking about including a film night, but am also to open to ideas and suggestions as to what people would like from it. Please do come along on a Wednesday and join us.”

Horden Salvation Army runs a full community programme including worship and a warm space on a Sunday, drop-in cafés, parent and toddler groups, youth groups, Cameo (come and meet each other) cookery classes, a coffee shop and messy church. They have a thriving garden which members of the community tend to, and also provide emergency food parcels and hygiene packs.

For more information visit the website here https://www.salvationarmy.org.uk/horden, phone 0191 586 3208, email [email protected] or drop in to the building on Dene Street. For more information on Mally’s Manclub call Mally on 07496 828136.

*https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/explore-mental-health/statistics/men-women-statistics