How to get mental health support in Hartlepool this summer

Men across town are encouraged to seek support this summer if they are struggling with their mental health.

Andy’s Man Club is a volunteer-led peer support group for men aged 18 and above.

The club provides men with a safe space to talk in a room free from judgement.

The club was first established in 2016 in Halifax after 23-year-old Andrew Roberts took his own life and now has more than 100 locations in the UK.

Andy's Man's Club Chris Studdard and Sean Harte provide mental health support for men at The Annexe.

In 2017, Andy’s Man Club opened in Hartlepool as part of Hartlepool United’s NCS charity initiative.

Chris Studdard, Hartlepool United’s club chaplain, headed the campaign.

Chris, who is the lead facilitator for Andy’s Man Club in Hartlepool, said: "The main reason why men come is because they don’t feel like they’ve got space to be open.

“For men, we don’t talk about our feelings. We don’t open up.”

Andy's Man's Club Chris Studdard provides mental health support for men at The Annexe.

Andy’s Man Club runs every Monday (except for bank holidays) from 7pm-9pm at The Annexe, in Wharton Terrace, Hartlepool.

It also holds a youth group on Thursdays from 6pm-9pm where it offers activities such as pool, darts and table tennis.

These Thursday sessions, open to men aged 18 and above, aim to introduce newcomers through an informal and social setting.

"It just helps,” said Chris, speaking about the youth group. “Anything that helps, that makes it easier to come to that first session.”

Andy’s club has no expectations of its members and wants everyone to feel as comfortable as possible.

Chris added: “For men, it’s very easy for us to put a face on, or put the mask on and just pretend that things are going well, even when they’re not.

"We just grin and bear it, thinking we’ve got to push on for ourselves and our family, or whatever the situation is.”

Andy’s Man Club, which also has a branch in Horden, understands how daunting the first session can be.

Chris said: "We’ve all been there. We’ve all had our first night.

“If a guy feels like he just needs time, he just needs to be listened to, he just needs space, then come along."More information can be found online at https://www.facebook.com/andysmanclub or https:///www.facebook.com/andymanclubhartlepool.

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