Published: 06:00, 10 May 2021
| Updated: 09:44, 10 May 2021
To mark Mental Health Awareness Week we've spoken to some of the people trying to help those struggling in Kent.
First, Tom Reeves speaks to a man setting up a charity to help men open up about their problems.
A mental breakdown at the end of last year opened Tom Perry's eyes to the lack of support out there for men struggling with their mental health.
The 31-year-old from Snodland was able to start cognitive behaviour therapy to help him through.
He said: "It was only in December that I had a really bad turn. I was lucky to get on the list and to be seen very quickly. I was really struggling but, at the beginning of February, I started to come out of it and I felt a lot better in myself.
“There is still quite a big stigma around it with men. When I was suffering, I felt there wasn’t a lot out there for guys."
To fix this, Mr Perry, of Hollow Lane, decided to set up The Men's Mind Project and now hopes to get charity status.
“A lot of guys won’t open up in front of women. We find having another guy to talk to helps..."
He said: "It has become my main focus and my main goal. I’m a lot better in myself, it's like therapy for me.
"I’ve had loads of success with it, with a lot of people opening up about their problems.
"We are in the process of setting everything up for the charity. It will be just for men’s mental health, really. It allows them to have somewhere to go when they need to talk."
Due to coronavirus restrictions, sessions have been held virtually since February but now Mr Perry wants to find a venue to host meetings once a week.
“I’m in the process of setting up a local hub that guys can go to. They can come in and talk about whatever they want and they won’t feel pressured because there are women around," he said.
“A lot of guys won’t open up in front of women. We find having another guy to talk to helps.
“The group has been a big hit. I have put a lot of people forward for more help because there are people in the group who are therapists and counsellors who have offered to help as well.
“So we are sending those people to them.”
Mr Perry, a saw operator, says he has been told by a member of NHS staff there is a 10-week waiting list to be seen by a therapist through them.
The group has been backed by Tonbridge and Malling Council, and has received worldwide support. It is followed by more than 250 people on Facebook.
“I’m quite surprised with the response I have got from it,” he added. “I only set it up to help a few guys out.
“But in the group, we have a few guys from America, an Australian, South Africans and a couple of blokes from Germany.”
Police officers, ambulance staff and NHS workers are involved in the group.
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