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Peer Support at ManHealth

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 know we cannot fix people's problems we cannot know what is right for our men. We endeavour to empower our men to do a great deal of self healing. Our relationship with our men is centred on congruence, empathy and an unconditional positive regard. The model we use encourages them to move forward, set new goals,do things and develop relationships that give their lives meaning.

The 5 key components of our model.

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 a lived experience of mental ill health. The groups are designed to provide an opportunity to meet new friends, helping to end the social stigma, and loneliness of mental ill health.

What takes place in the ManHealth groups?

Do I have to speak? No. Do I introduce myself by saying my name is… I’m depressed? No.

We listen and support and have fun making new contacts and supporting one another.

What we offer is friendship and peer support and encouragement and men supporting men in a non-clinical and safe 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. We welcome our mates bringing biscuits and cakes to celebrate a special occasion. 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. Due to Safeguarding.

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.

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 encourage 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.

Group sessions

Find a group near you


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:

  • help you to talk about what you are feeling and experiencing
  • help you share suggestions for coping techniques and support options
  • introduce you to ideas and approaches that have been helpful to others
  • reassure you that you're not the only person who has felt like this
  • increase your self esteem and confidence over time help you see how common mental health problems are, and that everyone experiencing them deserves support
  • provide a sense of belonging to a community of people with similar experiences
  • give you a safety net to turn to at difficult times or if you’re at risk of crisis
  • help you to find support that's right for you
  • help you feel more empowered about your own wellbeing, if you feel disillusioned with the support you've received so far

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.

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