In short, I attended a group when I was at my rock bottom. I now have my drinking well under control, much better productivity at work and best of all, my family life is better than ever.”
“For too long I kept my worries and issues to myself which had a hugely negative effect on my work productivity and also in my personal life, including my relationship. I had masked my issues with excess alcohol which got to the point of becoming a serious problem. Following one of the mental health awareness sessions run by Stu from TETC, I opened to my wife about how I was feeling and after talking, I decided to give one of their support groups a whirl. I had heard so many horror stories of talking groups being too clinical and like a counselling session so I was naturally hesitant ….how wrong I was!!! I was greeted with a smile, a handshake, a hot coffee and offer of biscuits (what more could a man want?!)
The group starts by simply asking how your week has been, giving all the lads a chance to speak. After this, I was invited to share my story as it was my first time and I don’t think I stopped talking for nearly an hour. Every single man there could relate to some part of my story and there was no judgement whatsoever, by anyone at all, including the facilitator. I was given space to talk, I listened to the support of other blokes and It was like a weight had been lifted off my chest. The groups finishes with a positive to look forward to for the week and mine was going home and telling my wife all about it. I couldn’t wait for the next meeting and I haven’t missed a group since my first session. To anyone wondering If it might be for them, I implore you to give it a go. You can leave if it’s not for you but I doubt very much that you will.
Tough Enough To Care Better Mental Health sessions are a short 45minute interactive presentation covering the basics of understanding mental health. The sessions dispel common myths about mental illness, teach an understanding of what metal health actually is and how it affects society on a daily basis. We then move on to spotting signs and symptoms of poor mental wellbeing in both ourselves and others, whilst giving guidance on self care tips and positive mindset. Once people have learnt how to spot potential mental ill health we offer advice on how to open a dialogue and listen with empathy and this then leads us on to correct signposting to professional services.
Following the presentation, we offer a chance to ask questions and give attendees a chance to share any real life experiences of their own journey. During the sessions we are looking to find suitable candidates who wish to further their learning and offer them a chance to train to become a support group facilitator and host regular community peer to peer support groups.
These sessions and the peer support groups are open to all men aged 18+ from the Sandwell area. If community organisations wish to book sessions for their volunteers and service users, they can email Stu at: firstname.lastname@example.org