Mandem Meetup aim to break taboo around men’s mental health

A Manchester mental health group is hosting weekly sessions for men to open up and talk about their personal struggles.

Mandem Meetup, a judgement-free talking circle which hosts weekly sessions at The Village Hall at Great Northern Warehouse, is launching a series of poetry workshops to help men combat mental health issues.

The monthly workshop welcomes men of all abilities to write poems, songs, and chants which embrace masculine experiences.

Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) says suicide is the biggest killer of men under the age of 45, and the cause of 18 deaths a day in the UK.

Figures show 75% of all UK suicides are male. 

The community group has kick-started 2023 with ‘Poetic Hooligans,’ a series of workshops which encourage men to talk about their struggles and express themselves artistically.

Led by Manchester-based rapper and social justice activist, Magic EKJ, Poetic Hooligans, which has its first session on 17 February, was created to help men across Greater Manchester talk about their personal struggles and learn about themselves, whilst improving both their own mental health as well as that of other group members.

Created by a group of men who are passionate about removing the stigma surrounding men’s mental health, Mandem Meetup’s mission is to build judgement-free spaces across the city, for men to open up and share their thoughts and feelings in a safe and relaxed environment.

The format is simple – men of all ages and walks of life meet up at The Village Hall, once a fortnight, to have a brew and share how they’re feeling, be it physically, emotionally or spiritually.

Ben Rutter, Operations Director at Mandem Meetup, said: “As a nation, we’ve come a long way in understanding and supporting mental health, yet men are still treated differently.

“They’re expected to act tough and refrain from opening up to the people close to them, which we completely disagree with.

“We care about our fellow brothers, our ‘mandem:’ we want them to know that there’s always a safe space for them to share their feelings.

“Mental health is just as important as physical health, and we want to raise awareness for this across Greater Manchester.”

Mark Schofield, Centre Director of Great Northern Warehouse, said: “Mandem Meetup embodies our inclusive and supportive community at Great Northern Warehouse.

“We’re proud of the work they’re doing for mental health and feel confident that they will make a real difference throughout Greater Manchester.”

The Village Hall on Deansgate Mews at Great Northern Warehouse provides flexible event space for community groups to meet up and connect with like-minded people.

The Mandem Meetup Deansgate Talking Circle is hosted every second Tuesday from 18:00, the next session is tomorrow – the 7th of February.

The next Poetic Hooligans workshop will take place on 17 February at 19:00-21:00. For future dates check out their instagram

Both take place at The Village Hall, Deansgate Mews, Great Northern House, M3 4EW.

If you are feeling low, the Samaritans offer support. You can call them for free on 116 123.

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