Two pals who have each battled with their own mental health have set up a group to support other men who may be struggling.
Dan Lambert, 35, and Jack Lucas, 31, set up Let’s Speak in June this year as a Facebook group to try and encourage men who needed help or support during lockdown to open up.
In less than four months, the group – which has an admin available to help 24/7 – has picked up more than 2,000 members and is a safe place for fellas to chat about whatever problems they may have. It also helps to signpost them towards help and support.
Speaking to LADbible Jack said: “You can go to university for years, get the highest degree you can possibly get but until you experience it yourself, you’re not going to know what it’s like and I think that makes us different.
“We’re not patronising, we can say to someone ‘we know how you feel’ – maybe not exactly because everyone is different, but we’ve got a good understanding.”
The closed group gives men an opportunity to talk about their problems, with Dan and Jack saying recent posts include questions about depression, coping mechanisms, debt management and help with finding foodbanks.
The pair, both from Stoke-on-Trent, have also taken their message off-line, heading out on World Mental Health Day to put posters on bridges urging anyone considering suicide to reach out for help.
Dan and Jack, who both have full time jobs, are open about their own struggles with their mental health and say helping others helps them.
Dan said: “It helps my mental health to help other people – knowing that I’ve been in their position, dealing with depression and anxiety.
“I am someone that has been in their position and can relate to what they’re going through and give them the advice that helped me when I was suffering.”
Jack agrees, adding: “I’ve suffered with depression.
“I’ve been in the darkest of places – I’ve attempted suicide. I was in prison for three years. So I’ve had a real long battle with mental health.
“Once I was diagnosed with depression and found help with it, I realised the best thing I ever did was speak about it.“
And getting others to speak about it is a passion for Jack and Dan.
Jack added: “We are not a charity, but simply a group for men to be able to talk with no judgement, no stigmatised views.
“Men are raised to be tough, with the usual ‘boys don’t cry’ stigma, or get told to ‘man up’, and this is why we don’t talk and that’s something we passionately want to change.
“We want to end the silence and suffering, shed some light, and make some noise for all men around the world. To let them know it’s OK to cry and be proud of your mental health, and fight it alongside others.”
To find out more about Let’s Speak, or to join, click here.