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ManHealth was founded by Paul Bannister who, like many men, felt too ashamed to confess his own struggles with depression - at its core was the fear of judgement by others. This motivated him to create a male-only peer support group run by men with a lived experience of mental ill health.

The main goals of ManHealth were firstly to give men who are struggling with mental ill-health a place where they can meet other men in similar situations and support one another, sharing their experiences and making friends in the process. Secondly, founder Paul Bannister was also acutely aware of the crisis surrounding male suicide in the North East of England and the burden this placed on many friends and families. His drive was to be proactive and do his best to help these men before they reached a critical condition.

All the ManHealth groups are run on an evening and on a drop-in/referral basis. The groups are user-led but all follow a programme of support and work towards a recovery model. ManHealth monitors the mental health and well-being of the men who visit the project using a well-being scale, which is calculated every six weeks and then followed by a discussion on their progress.

Mr Bannister, details the successes of the project, adding: “ManHealth is a proactive project that helps men to talk and deal with their mental health issues allowing them a space to talk about their feelings, emotions and issues around their mental ill-health in a safe non-judgemental environment. This peer-to-peer support offered by men who have lived experience can really make a difference and saves lives, helping to diminish the social stigma and shame which seems to frequently come hand in hand with male mental health.”

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