West Devon CVS is encouraging men to talk about their mental health together with a male suicide prevention charity, which will run a public meeting this month.

The meeting will take place in the cafe at Castle Ham Lodge at 6:30pm on February 27 and will be run by ANDYSMANCLUB, a suicide prevention charity that runs free talking groups for men across the country. It is hoped that the meeting will encourage men to come forward and set up a new West Decon talking group.

Orla Turner, development worker at West Devon CVS, which helped to organise the event, said: “There’s more men struggling and there’s been a higher rate of male suicide. It’s something that’s emerging and [ANDYSMANCLUB] seems like a very good group. They are men-focused, blokey. I think it’s one way of helping men who don’t traditional seek support.”

The session will be hosted by Oliver Vikse from the charity who attended the very first ANDYSMANCLUB meeting in 2016. He will talk about how the charity has impacted him in the hope that other men will come forward to talk about their mental health struggles and perhaps agree to help manage the new West Devon talking group.

Both men and women are invited to the first public meeting which will be an informative talk about the charity’s work rather than the usual support group meeting and posters will soon be up around the town.

ANDYSMANCLUB is a family-run charity and was set up in 2016, following the suicide of Andy Roberts, a 23-year-old father, in early 2016.

Following his death, Andy’s mum and brother-in-law set up the charity to tackle the stigma surrounding men’s mental health and provide men with a safe space to discuss their difficulties and receive support from other men, who may be experiencing similar issues.

Today, the charity helps over 3,000 men with 175 weekly talking groups sessions for men over the age of 18 across the UK.

Research has revealed that suicide is the biggest killer of men under 50. Statistics gathered by the Office for National Statistics in 2022 showed that men accounted for around three-quarters of reported suicides in England and Wales.

Anyone struggling with their mental health and considering suicide can call Samaritans for free on 116 123 at any time. The Samaritans helpline is open 24 hours a day and 365 days a year.