Sleaford area men overcoming stigma of mental ill health in new group seek backing

A group of Sleaford area men are building up a new, online support group aimed at men dealing with mental health issues.

Ryan Allsopp, a 36-year-old care worker from Sleaford, is one of the founding members of the group designed to help men talk through their struggles with anxiety and depression without fear of stigma.

Ryan, who has been overcoming his own issues, is keen to share his experiences to benefit others. He said: “Some men feel they are not allowed to have mental health issues, they must be bread-winners and strong for their family.”

Ryan was diagnosed with generalised anxiety disorder a few years ago, which eventually led him to self-harm. He quit his job and did not want to know his family. “I felt I was letting my wife and kids down and hating myself,” he said.

“It took me to have a mini breakdown for my wife to order me to get to the doctors and start the process of recovery and now I can talk about how I feel.”

He still receives counselling occasionally and said: “There are 84 men a year that take their own life in the UK - 12 a week. I got talking to a bunch of lads I speak to on Facebook and found quite a few have had some issues currently or in the past.

“We decided to put this group together. If we help one man to get through something it will be worth it.”

The group, called A Broken Mind, mainly serves the Sleaford area and so far has 112 members including a couple of counsellors helping in their spare time and a holistic therapist.

Ryan said: “The eventual idea is to have meet-ups - just somewhere lads can go and feel relaxed and chat. Somewhere where it is alright to be ‘not OK’ outside their regular circle of friends and family.”

He was surprised to have got so many members so quickly and he gets requests by women to join as well but has to politely decline.

He is keen to develop the group and plans to take a degree in health and social care to help more people.

They are keen to recruit more professional support and hope to hold a charity night for CALM.

Search for ‘A Broken Mind’ on Facebook.