A Rotherham father-of-four has set up a support group to raise awareness and help men who are struggling with their mental health in the local area.
Luke Brailsford, 37, from Kimberworth, was exposed to mental illness from a young age, witnessing the detrimental side-effects that a mental health condition can have on someone, and wanted to help others who may be struggling.
Mr Brailsford said: “I want to help as many men as possible who are struggling and to help build a community – we will not save the world, but we will save a few lives.”
The Men’s Mental Health Group (MMHG), based in Rawmarsh, has been running for just over two months as a part of the S62 Community Together Rotherham, a collection of support groups covering mental health, community engagement and self-development.
Mr Brailsford added: “The purpose of MMHG is to support men who are struggling and let them know they’re not alone. Let’s face it, most people feel isolated (more so since lockdown) and are struggling even in day-to-day life.”
The number of men who have committed suicide in Rotherham is higher than the national average, with around one in eight men having a common mental health problem in England.
Mr Brailsford explained that he believes it’s difficult for men to admit they are struggling due to the stigma associated with men’s mental health, and ‘feeling like you should be the strong one in the family’.
He added: “It’s admitting you are struggling, accepting what has happened and finding a way to move forward.
“You can’t stay in the same place; you will end up sinking. It’s about turning the negative into a positive and moving forward.”
The Men’s Mental Health Group prides itself on providing free support to those who are struggling with weekly meetings and raising money through selling MMHG t-shirts and hosting fundraisers.
Offering cups of tea, coffee and biscuits, the men have a talk about issues affecting their lives and share past events that still have an impact on their mental health today.
The MMHG meets every Monday evening at 7.30pm at the Drop-in Community Centre, Harding Avenue, Rawmarsh, S62 7ED.