This week’s guest blog comes from Stuart the founder of Tough Enough to Care a men’s mental health charity based in the West Midlands.  I got chance to speak to Stuart and his insight and passion into Men’s mental health was invaluable. Enjoy reading a little about Stuart and his charity.

Stuart set up this charity after loss of friends to suicide, a military man with insight to how mental health affects others the set up came from an idea in the pub. This is what Stuart had to say:

“The idea for Tough Enough To Care came shortly after when I saw a beer mat asking if someone was missing from the normal drinks nights out, I thought if a beer mat can make me think twice, what else could I do? I spoke to close friends and toyed with the idea of what and how could I do something to make this idea into reality. Who was I to help others? What skills and knowledge or experience did I have to make a difference, and the answer was clear – I don’t have to be something special, I just have to care”

Once the charity had been established Stuart introduced and continues to run weekly male support groups at community locations provided by West Midlands Fire Service, deliver mental health drop in sessions for employees, volunteers and members of various companies, emergency service hubs, amateur sports clubs and retail environments.

As well as the workplace drop in sessions he has delivered informative mental health talks to a variety of audiences to help a provide a greater understanding of the effects of mental ill health.

Further to the physical meetings they offer online support on social media with over 42,000 followers on their Facebook page where they post daily messages of positivity and tips on how to deal with and support yourself and others who struggle.

In addition to the public page they have a private peer to peer support hub with nearly 2,000 members from around the world meaning there is always someone willing to talk 24/7.

They have distributed over 30,000 contact cards which of business card size and be carried in a wallet or purse with contact details of several large mental health support lines including Samaritans and Combat Stress.

Looking to the future they hope to open more venues for support meetings and train a team of volunteers to all become mental health first aiders with 2 team members becoming MHFA instructors allowing them to deliver accredited Mental Health First Aid courses whilst also increasing the knowledge base of the team of volunteers.

Everything they currently deliver is free of charge and run by a dedicated team of volunteers, all of whom have full time jobs and a busy family life.

Tough Enough to Care is something they feel passionately about and they work tirelessly in their spare time to provide the very best service.

This is a success story in our region that shows from a small spark of an idea something big can happen.  If you are interested in their work check out their website: https://toughenoughtocare.help/