A MAN who suffers with mental health problems said a peer support group in Dewsbury has changed his life.
And now Tom Nolan wants to encourage more lads dealing with the same issues to attend Andy’s Man Club.
The group, which is aimed at men 18 and over, meets every Monday evening at Union House in Dewsbury (7pm-9pm).
Tom joined the group on Union Street nearly 12 months ago when he was going through “a bad patch” – and a year on he now heads up the weekly meetings as facilitator.
The 34-year-old, originally from Batley, also wants to use his experiences to get into counselling and help others with mental health issues.
He said: “For a number of years I’ve dealt with mental health issues, depression and anxiety.
“It’s something I’d never really looked into or thought about being a young lad, but there was some catastrophic things that happened in my life.
“And my partner said to me to give it a try. I went and it was the biggest thing that’s changed my life.”
Former professional rugby league player Luke Ambler set up the first Andy’s Man Club in Halifax two years ago after losing his brother Andy to suicide.
With the hashtag #itsokaytotalk, Luke’s dream was to set up five clubs per year, and already there are 17 across the country.
The Dewsbury branch has saved Tom’s life and now has a regular group of around 20 men attending. But Tom says there could be a lot more.
He said: “I made the step going to see the doctor’s which was good, but the talking to complete strangers in a room you’re all tense but by the end of it you’re laughing.
“I’ve caught lads standing at the door apprehensive of whether to come in or not, the biggest step is coming through that door.
“They just need to know that there’s always someone there to support them and tell them it’ll be alright.
“I don’t know what I’d have done without it and the friends that I’ve made there.”
He described the club as like a “brotherhood” and even set up a WhatsApp messenger group so that whenever anyone is in need, someone will be there to help.
All men over the age of 18 who might be suffering with mental health problems are encouraged to go to the Dewsbury meeting.
For more information, visit www.andysmanclub.co.uk.