Students discover it’s good to talk
The last couple of years have been difficult for everyone. Lockdowns, isolation and the resulting loneliness have caused mental health issues to escalate, meaning some people are really struggling. That’s why Building Services lecturer Declan Gaughan decided to ask Alex McClintock, Project Development Champion at ANDYSMANCLUB, to speak to some electrical apprentices and pre-apprentices.
ANDYSMANCLUB is a network of clubs set up for men aged 18 and over to come together and openly talk about their mental health. It takes its name from Andrew Roberts, a man who sadly took his own life aged 23 in early 2016. Now there are volunteer-led clubs at more than 70 locations throughout the UK.
Alex McClintock explains: “ANDYSMANCLUB is a peer-to-peer support group providing a safe space for men on a Monday night. Part of what we do is encouraging those who attend to open up and talk about the struggles they face on a daily basis. This also helps us to challenge some of the toxic masculinity stigmas that we deal with every day like ‘man up’ and ‘big boys don't cry’, when it takes a bigger man and a lot of courage to open up in front of their peers.
“Working with D&A College speaking to the young men is vital to show them that it is OK to talk and it's not something to be embarrassed about. These young men might never attend AMC but if they reach out and talk to their mates then it’s been successful. ANDYSMANCLUB looks forward to working with the College in the future.”
Declan agrees that this collaboration can only be a good thing: “After listening to the stories of why the Club was started, seeing how passionate the guys are and the benefit of just being able to talk to someone, especially for young men, I thought it would be highly beneficial for the College.
“The stigma around men, young and old, talking about how they feel is unreal and what we have all been through the last couple of years will definitely have had an impact on a lot of people’s mental health. If Alex coming in can show just one of the students that it’s OK to talk, there is support available and there are people going through the exact same thing as you, then it is worth it.”
For anyone struggling with their mental health, as well as organising beneficial talks like these, the College offers ongoing confidential support. Rosie Ivins, Mental Health & Wellbeing Team Leader, says, “Many of our male students currently contact Student Services for confidential short and long-term support covering themes such as relationships, finances and caring responsibilities. Students at each campus can also access a counselling service, benefiting from a confidential and safe place to talk through emotional concerns, finding solutions to personal obstacles and developing self-care.”
Any student who would like to have a chat about support can email firstname.lastname@example.org
Find out more about ANDYSMANCLUB at https://andysmanclub.co.uk/