During our health and wellbeing learning events in 2018, CIRAS members discussed how to promote mental wellbeing and a great suggestion at the time was to work with local charities to access the support they offer. CIRAS member Crossway Scaffolding has done just that, with local charity Andy’s Man Club which is there for men who need somewhere safe to talk. By making it their charity of the year for 2019 they are both supporting it and raising awareness of its availability to their staff.
Constructions workers are almost four times more likely to die by suicide than the national average – and CIRAS has many construction members working in the transport industry. The industry has become increasingly aware that mental health is as important as physical health – and that men in particular can find it harder to access the support they need to stay mentally well.
About Andy’s Man Club
The Club was set up by the family of Andy Roberts who died by suicide in April 2016, aged just 23. The aim was to give men aged 18 or over a place to go if they felt the need to talk – whether about everyday issues like debt or relationship worries, or more serious mental health problems. Participants have reported how useful it is talking to someone experiencing the same thing because they can help each other to provide coping strategies and identify with each other – a completely different experience to sitting opposite a counsellor. The Club has expanded and now meets in various locations across Yorkshire and Lancashire.
Steve Fearnehough, Managing Director at Crossway said:
“All Crossway employees had been given the opportunity to choose a charity close to their hearts for the company to support during 2019. It’s fitting that Andy’s Man Club has been picked out, not least because suicide within the construction industry is far higher than in any other industry. We feel as an organisation we have a duty to look after the mental health of all employees and we are very proud to be supporting Andy’s Man Club.”
One man’s story
It was Christmas 2017, and Andy Butterworth was struggling with issues both at home and in work. He was ‘keeping it together’ at work until one day he simply broke down. His wife encouraged him to visit his GP where he was diagnosed with depression. He knew that his employer, Crossway Scaffolding, supported a local charity called ‘Andy’s Man Club’ where men struggling with mental health issues meet and talk through their issues with other men suffering similar problems. Andy went along and found himself in a safe place where he could open up with other men and he soon realised he was far from alone. Twelve months later, Andy felt well enough to stop attending but he’s grateful that the Club is there if he ever needs it again - and he’s recommended it to other men in need.
Andy said “Andy’s Man Club gave me the chance to get to know lads from all walks of life with similar issues to mine – it was a relief to know I wasn’t alone. Men can still feel they should ‘man up’ when they are suffering, and the Club helped me realise how common mental health issues are amongst men, and that there’s help out there.”