Mental Health: Talk About It Mate

Talk About It Mate is one of the original mental health support groups that has links with the MAN v FAT community. 

Mike Richard tells us all about it!

What do you do at Talk About It Mate?
We specialise in creating spaces for people to connect in as we believe in the power of people helping people. Our work has developed over the past 5 years from casual meetups and events in Manchester to more organised peer support spaces which we were able to move online during the pandemic.

Alongside these, we were able to connect people through WhatsApp groups, with our main group still going strong to this day. We run an extra football game on Monday nights and the men know there’s someone they can speak to if they need support.

In the past couple of years, we have been able to provide a range of face-to-face peer support groups such as men’s groups and mixed walking groups. Now we offer three weekly daytime men’s groups in Salford with many of the participants being referred into us by social prescribers.

How did you get TAIM up and running?
I have always had struggles with my own mental health which only became clear to me in 2004 aged 18, when I was diagnosed with depression. The landscape has changed considerably since then and looking back I can see that what I really needed was spaces to talk and open up about what was going on for me, which I didn’t have.

As a result, I struggled for 12 years before experiencing a mental breakdown and seeking support in the form of counselling. I was desperate for others to not go through what I’d been through, so when I moved back to Manchester after a few years away I decided to create a small meetup group called ‘Talk About It Mate’ since then it has changed my life for the better in every way.

I was able to stop teaching and start training as a counsellor alongside growing TAIM, now I juggle both roles and things are growing all the time.

What is TAIM’s relationship with MAN v FAT?
Following my breakdown and while I was living in London I decided (while having therapy) to finally tackle my issues with confidence and self-esteem. As this mostly came from how I felt about my weight, this was the first time I’d ever considered making a real change.

I joined MAN v FAT in Leyton and played up until coming back up north, when I joined the freshly launched Salford league. After a while I also joined the Manchester league. Being part of the community was great for me, not only was I losing weight and growing in confidence I was making new friendships too.

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