New Bassetlaw walking group encourages men to talk about their mental health
A new walking and talking group to help men open up about their mental health has launched in Bassetlaw.
MenWalkTalk has been providing a space where men can talk openly about mental health issues, whilst enjoying the great outdoors since Matt Pollard launched the scheme in Littlehampton in January 2020.
And now men in Bassetlaw aged 18 and over can get involved after Bassetlaw Clinical Commissioning Group funded a local branch of the charity through the Get Out Get Active scheme.
The first walk took place in Idle Valley on May 8 and other events are scheduled to take place in the coming weeks and months.Paula Graham, GGOGA Bassetlaw development officer, who has been involved in setting up the local branch said: “I think there is a big gap in men's mental health provision in the area.
"Here at Bassetlaw Action Centre we run a course called the Staying Well Programme and I’d say 75 per cent of people we see are struggling with their mental health.
"Over the last eight years we have seen a lot of men coming into the room speaking about mental health and saying things like ‘I can't believe I just said this out loud it has made such a big difference to share it’.
"So it had been on my mind that more needed to be done and when Bassetlaw CCG had a pot of money available for suicide prevention in Bassetlaw I had already been looking into MensWalkTalk and it seemed like a perfect fit.”
Mr Pollard launched the charity after struggling with his own mental health.
He said: “I had been dealing with a lot of stress through my work and I noticed it was impacting my mood and I was becoming anxious.
"I decided to take part in a scheme to complete a marathon in a month where you could choose to run, cycle or walk each day and I chose to walk every morning before work and it really picked me up.
"I was seeing the benefits of getting out and about and I remember just seeing loads of guys walking or running out there on their own and thought rather than just a nod of the head what about if we could have a more in depth conversation talking more openly about mental health and reducing that stigma in a group setting.”
All walks are free to attend and will take place at Idle Valley every second Saturday of the month at 10am meeting in the car park.
A walk will take place at Retford Kings Park on May 22 at 10am and every fourth Saturday of the month at the main entrance near the old police station. walks will be approximately 45 minutes.
Mr Pollard added: “I’d encourage any guys struggling with their mental health to sign up, there’s no commitment on the day if it feels like it’s too much there’s no pressure to take part.
"I hope that more guys begin to understand the importance of getting out in the fresh air and talking openly about anything that may be on their mind, in turn reducing the number of men suffering in silence.”
Visit menwalktalk.co.uk and for local meeting details visit Get Out Get Active Bassetlaw Facebook page, call 01777 709650 or email [email protected]