Suc­cess brings new men­tal health group to the Broch

Health: Men United launched in Peter­head af­ter spate of male sui­cides

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - NEWS - BY TAM­SIN GRAY

A men’s men­tal health sup­port group in Peter­head is ex­pand­ing.

For­mer bounc­ers Sandy Gar­vock and Aaron Ritchie started Men United in Peter­head in Au­gust af­ter a spate of male sui­cides.

The pair were tired of hear­ing the phrase “man up” and de­cided to cre­ate a safe space, free from judg­ment, for men to open up if they are strug­gling.

Pro­mot­ing the mes­sage “don’t man up, speak up”, the Peter­head sup­port group is al­ready be­ing used as a valu­able re­source with more than 20 peo­ple

“We have pre­vented three sui­cides in the past nine weeks”

at­tend­ing the weekly Mon­day meet­ings.

Now Men United is launch­ing in Fraser­burgh where there will be fort­nightly meet­ings.

Mr Gar­vock said: “The Peter­head group has grown dras­ti­cally and a few guys from the Fraser­burgh area had in­quired so we de­cided to try fort­nightly meet­ings there.

“So far the group gets at least 20 ev­ery Mon­day in Peter­head. We also run foot­ball and fit­ness ses­sions, and this week we are joined by PJ Coutts with his archery tag try­ing to get the guys to be ac­tive as well as work­ing as a team.

“We have suc­cess­fully in­ter­vened and pre­vented three sui­cides in the past nine weeks and many guys are say­ing that group has re­ally helped them to see a way out of how they are feel­ing.

“It’s been very hum­bling see­ing these guys come along feel­ing so low with lit­tle mo­ti­va­tion in life, and a few weeks later they’re turn­ing up and re­ally get­ting in­volved and shar­ing about the good things hap­pen­ing now in­stead of the neg­a­tives.

“We en­cour­age guys to stop look­ing for neg­a­tiv­ity and fo­cus on at least one good thing ev­ery day and it’s re­ally help­ing them.

“It’s great to have men ad­mit that they are lov­ing life again and look­ing for­ward to their fu­tures but we are very aware there are many more out there who haven’t reached out to us yet and we re­ally en­cour­age them to mes­sage.”

The lo­ca­tion of the meet­ings are kept pri­vate to avoid any judg­ment of those turn­ing up. There are also ses­sions at Shirley’s Space on Thurs­days from 7pm-9pm.

To get in touch with the group or find out about the drop us

ameet­ings, visit the Men United Face­book page or email me­nunit­ed­[email protected]

On Novem­ber 29, the group will hold a fundrais­ing concert at the Tav­ern Lounge, Peter­head, from 7.30pm. Lo­cal group Rise will en­ter­tain. Tick­ets at the bar.

‘HUM­BLING’: Sandy Gar­vock, left, and Aaron Ritchie set up sup­port group Men United to give men­tally un­well males a place to share wor­ries

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