From humble beginnings back in 2003, the Movember movement has grown to be a truly global one, inspiring support from over 5 million Mo Bros and Mo Sistas worldwide and is now the leading charity changing the face of men’s health. What was once known as November is now known as Movember, raising much needed awareness for men’s health, particularly mental health, prostate and testicular cancer.
Here in the Channel Islands, and to mark the start of Movember and to help raise awareness for Men’s Health generally, we caught up with Founder of Man Club Jersey, Matt Falla to learn more about his journey with the group.
Man Club is a confidential safe space for men to meet and talk about what is going on in their lives. Originally founded in Guernsey by Phil Surry, it is an informal group or network which offers support entirely without judgement.
All human beings need to be listened to and have their voice heard, and when men are going through periods of grief, loss, anxiety or other mental health issues, it is important for them to be able to voice and share their feelings. We don’t try to cure, or find an answer, we just listen. This is incredibly powerful.
Importantly, voicing your feelings and really being listened to is what it is all about. Research by a well known wellbeing clinic showed that 77% of men feel stress, anxiety or depression, but over 40% of them would never talk about it. This might be the very first time that you’ve spoken about how you’re feeling.
Matt told us:
Looking back, my first Man Club was the first time I’d felt able to be authentic, to admit how I was feeling in a supportive space with people that understood.
I realise that the root cause of my Mental Health challenges were less about events and more the denial and suppression of the emotions related to those events. Man Club provided a community cocoon that allowed me to accept and explore who I am. It really provided the foundation on which to build a better tomorrow.
But what is Mental Wellbeing?
Mental wellbeing describes your mental state; how you are feeling and how well you can cope with day-to-day life. Our mental wellbeing is dynamic. We’re all different. What affects someone’s mental wellbeing won’t necessarily affect others in the same way. But we all have times when we have low mental wellbeing, where we feel stressed, upset or find it difficult to cope.
Common life events such as loss or bereavement, loneliness, relationship problems and issues at work can affect your mental wellbeing. Other times there is no clear reason for why we feel the way we do – which can be frustrating. Regardless, it can be helpful to remember that you deserve to feel good, and there are steps you can take to improve and maintain your mental wellbeing.
Connecting with others can help us to feel a greater sense of belonging and can help to challenge feelings of loneliness. Make time for the people you love. Keeping regular contact with friends and family, whether it’s face-to-face, on the phone or by text, can strengthen your relationships.
Join a group. Think of what you like to do, such as drawing, gardening or a sport and look for local groups. Meeting others with a shared interest can increase your confidence and build your support network.
Use peer support. If you’re finding things difficult, talking to people with similar feelings or experiences can help you feel accepted. This could be online or at a peer support group, such as Man Club.
Volunteer at a local school or hospice. Giving your time to those who need it can be extremely fulfilling and help you look at things from a different perspective.
Looking for a supportive space with people that understand you?
Pop in to Man Club on the second Monday of every month, or join us virtually every fourth Monday of the month. We would love to hear from you!
Man Club Jersey is supported by Mind Jersey. More information can be found on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.