ManHealth run peer support groups in and around County Durham and the North East of England. Peer support takes place when people with experience of depression support each other towards better wellbeing, as people of equal value and on a reciprocal basis, using their own lived experience as a tool for support.
ManHealth use a recovery model that is based on five key components and emphasise their importance and encourage our mates to try to follow this path.
Connect: With family, friends,colleagues and neighbours
Change: Try a new diet. Change your routine. Reduce your stress
Community: Do something positive. Help someone or volunteer
Commit : Do some exercise that suits your level of fitness. Fresh air and sunlight are important, and could help with sleep
Challenge: Try something new or rediscover an old interest
ManHealth Peer Support Groups FAQ
Who can attend the ManHealth Peer Support Groups?
ManHealth groups are open to any man aged 18+. The groups are open to men affected by depression or other mental health issues to share friendship and support over a common condition. All ManHealth groups are run by men with personal experience of depression. The groups are designed to provide an opportunity to meet new friends, helping to end the social stigma, and loneliness of depression.
The exception is anyone classified as a 'vulnerable male: unless accompanied by a male carer.
What happens in the ManHealth groups?
Do I have to share? No. Do I introduce myself by saying my name is… I’m depressed? No.
Do we stand in a circle introduce ourselves and pray to a higher being? No.
What we offer is peer support which is men supporting men in a non-clinical environment.
Can I only attend the ManHealth group in my home town/area?
No. Men are welcome to attend ManHealth groups in any town on any evening. ManHealth is committed to ensuring that all our groups follow the same format so whether you visit a group in Shildon or elsewhere you will instantly recognise the ManHealth ethos.
Do I have to pay to attend ManHealth groups?
No. The meetings are completely FREE to those attending. You also get free tea coffee and biscuits.
We do accept donations but you will not be placed under any pressure to donate. You could if you wish sign up for one of our events to raise funds or buy some merchandise to help us continue these groups.
Do I need to be referred to attend a ManHealth group?
No. Our ManHealth groups are voluntary drop ins. Our mates can come and go as they please; although we have found men like to try to attend every week. Routine is good when you are feeling down.
Do I need an official diagnosis before I attend ManHealth?
No. You can attend with or without a diagnosis. You can attend if you are not feeling your best or you can attend if you are feeling good but would like to chat and meet like-minded people. ManHealth are all about a problem shared is a problem halved. If we can offer support and guidance that prevents you reaching crisis then we have achieved our aim.
Are the discussions within the ManHealth groups confidential?
Yes. What is said between men in our groups should be kept confidential.
'Who you see and what you hear here stays here.'
There are, however, a couple of exceptions to that rule. If you tell us you are being abused, physically or sexually (or carrying out the abuse) or if you tell us you are going to hurt yourself and / or hurt someone else, then we are duty bound to contact the authorities.
We want people to feel comfortable enough to be able to share their issues and be confident enough that anything they do share, or is shared by anyone else in the group, doesn't get discussed outside of that. Can we absolutely guarantee that 100%? No. No group can, but we need to be able to trust each other to get the most from it, so we have to believe that those attending buy into our ethos.
Will ManHealth make me better?
No. We just want to help. ManHealth is non-professional – it doesn't have clinics, doctors, counsellors or psychologists. However we reserve the right to signpost to these services.
The ManHealth groups are designed to let men come together and give and share support. When you talk about depression or anxiety or another issue, others in the group might offer you some help based on their experiences, perhaps some advice and we can certainly support you and / or signpost you to places that can help you more, but you don't have to take any of it.
We also understand that taking that first step towards getting or asking for help can be incredibly hard, but by turning up at one of our groups, you've already done that. The next steps are so much easier.
ManHealth knows from experience that peer support can help men to take huge strides forward in their recovery. Men who have experienced depression can offer privileged insight and understanding, and draw on their own experiences to help other men. The support men give can be an extremely effective and complement support given by mental health professionals, or provide a lifeline to those for whom traditional mental health support has not worked.
Talking to people who have been through similar challenges may:
People with lived experience of depression play the lead role in developing our approach to peer support, including designing and delivering peer support training, and developing ways that peer support works in practice.
ManHealth has also worked alongside service users to create more “formal” peer support opportunities within our services. This means that we train people to act as Peer Supporters and provide the infrastructure they need to deliver this support safely and confidently, through our Social Franchises. This includes supervision and support from a paid Peer Support Coordinator who themselves has experience of mental distress. Please speak to one of our staff if you would like to discuss this opportunity with ManHealth.