A men’s mental health charity and supporters took to the Humber Bridge in an attempt to get people talking about their feelings, just a week after two men took their own lives by jumping off the bridge.
Last Saturday, just metres away and within minutes of each other, Sam Conlin and a grandfather from Grimsby ended their lives.
Earlier this week, Sam’s dad, Ian, paid tribute to his son and spoke out about why people should talk about their mental health problems.
Inspired by this, Andy’s Man Club organised a walk from Hessle Foreshore, over the Humber Bridge and back again. The Club were there to provide support, advice and spread the word about their services.
They were joined on the walk by members of the public, some of whom had lost loved ones or had gone through their own mental health battles.
There to show support was Paul Spence, founder of Paul for Brain Recovery. He was there with Leon McQuade, a trustee at Andy’s Man Club to show unity and support between the services.
Leon said: “With all of the tragedy going on we wanted to do something and be proactive and to show people we are not prepared for this to happen anymore. [We want] to encourage people to talk and to show them that there are people that want to help.
“Hull is a great city with a great community spirit. We believe the city can help change the stigma and show families that it’s not in vain.
“The Humber Bridge Board are doing a lot to help and have been fantastic but mental health has a stigma that needs breaking and the bridge is not the problem – the problem is the stigma. It’s more about brain health and wellbeing.”
Paul said: “We are here to show unity and solidarity in the city. We want to show people that there are the services who want to come together to make a difference.
“I see the bridge as a beacon of hope for the city, and seeing that on the train or on the road I know I’m home. It is part of the heritage and we can turn it back to that.
“We work a lot with Andy’s Man Club because we know that a lot of people with a brain injury do suffer with depression and anxiety as a consequence.
“We know that so try to link up with services like Andy’s and HEY Mind. We are all in this together. It is important to come together and we know people are struggling and if they see this and what is happening today it may change that.”
‘Suicidal people think no-one cares – this shows they do’
Paul Longley, of Andy’s Man Club, said: “What we’re doing is creating awareness for Andy’s Man Club and so people know there is somewhere to talk and not suffer in silence and to show people who are suffering that we care.
“It started just over two years ago in Halifax when Andrew Roberts, who had no sign of mental health illness, took his life and his mum, Elaine started the Club. We have 17 clubs nationwide and we are starting a new one on Monday in Sheffield.
“The turnout today is absolutely fantastic and what we’re doing is showing support, because sometimes people who feel suicidal think no one cares and they’re a burden. But this shows they’re not a burden to anyone and that we’re here to help and if they talk they’ll find the support out there is absolutely amazing.”
Mr Longley said about 30 people came to the sessions with the club every week.
“We ask five questions and in those we encourage people to talk, but if you don’t want to you can listen and we pass a ball around and when it comes to you you can just pass it on. We’ve had guys come with their heads down and crying but we do have a lot of laughs too. We also have people who meet up every Sunday and go for social walks.
“If you need help turn up on a Monday night. It is the hardest thing you’ll ever do to get through that door but when you do it’ll be the best thing.”
Earlier this week, Sam Conlin’s dad made an emotional plea to anyone needing help.
He said: “I just want to say if other young people are reading this and feeling suicidal or depressed then speak or talk to your parents – talk to anyone. They will help you get through whatever it is you are going through.”
Andy’s Man Club are available on Facebook, Twitter and have a website.
If you need help
Samaritans (116 123) samaritans.org operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at firstname.lastname@example.org , write to Freepost RSRB-KKBY-CYJK, PO Box 9090, STIRLING, FK8 2SA and visit www.samaritans.org/branches to find your nearest branch.
CALM (0800 58 58 58) thecalmzone.net has a helpline is for men who are down or have hit a wall for any reason, who need to talk or find information and support. They’re open 5pm to midnight, 365 days a year.
Childline (0800 1111 ) runs a helpline for children and young people in the UK. Calls are free and the number won’t show up on your phone bill.
PAPYRUS (0800 068 41 41) is a voluntary organisation supporting teenagers and young adults who are feeling suicidal.
Depression Alliance is a charity for people with depression. It doesn’t have a helpline, but offers a wide range of useful resources and links to other relevant information depressionalliance.org
Students Against Depression is a website for students who are depressed, have a low mood or are having suicidal thoughts. Bullying UK is a website for both children and adults affected by bullying studentsagainstdepression.org
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This content was originally published here.