Bringing men together to chat mental health.
Touch’s Operations Manager, Emily, shares our recent Men Together initiative
We’ve been so busy at Touch lately… and have been working on some super exciting new projects, one of which is our Men Together meet ups.
We’re hosting a series of get-togethers and peer-to-peer groups in community spaces across Southampton for men* aged 18+. The sessions are loosely facilitated and provide men with opportunities to connect with others and share their stories and experiences of mental health. Through this we hope that those who attend will recognise their own resilience, share ideas for coping strategies, gain confidence to face tough times and to get linked up with local support networks.
*Open to anyone whose gender identity is male.
We’ve had 2 meet ups so far, with another several booked (and a special celebration planned for International Men’s Day!) At each venue we’ve created a safe and welcoming environment, with some pub-style games to help as a starting point for conversations. We’ve been providing pizza during the evenings too. And everyone loves pizza!
There’s no pressure on anyone attending to talk about their mental health experiences, men coming along are just as welcome to listen and chat about other subjects… food, or what they’ve been up to during the day.
Our hope is that spending an evening in a community space with like-minded people will help mental health wellbeing.
Peer-to-peer support is incredibly beneficial, and this may be a more comfortable and accessible way for men to talk about their mental health. Some may have previously tried more structured avenues of support or may feel that these are not suited to them; by offering a different method we aim to make a positive impact on the attendees and give them the confidence to seek out more specialised help if they feel it is needed.
The sessions are on a drop-in basis and held on both evenings and weekends to make them as accessible and inclusive as possible. We’ve built connections with local male-specific support groups and have had members of these groups at each of the get-togethers, sharing their own stories and helping to signpost men to these groups.
We’re really happy with how the sessions have been going, and we’re really excited to continue with the project, and welcome new people into our wonderful Touch community!
You can find more info about the Men Together project on our website, under the ‘what we do’ heading. Or feel free to get in touch if you have any questions – [email protected]