These men are mostly working class and middle-aged; a few are in their 20s. There is one much older bloke, who chuckles: “I used to deal with my frustrations by wrapping a pool cue round someone’s head.”
Over the two-hour session, the group share the ups and downs of their week:..The atmosphere is warm, matey, and devoid of the earnestness that I (rightly or wrongly) associate with a discussion about mental health, feelings and all the other subjects I tend to avoid. This is plain-speaking therapy.
Every Monday night at 7pm, 1,200 men nationwide attend one of 18 Andy’s Man Clubs.
There are no mental health professionals working at Andy’s Man Clubs. This, Ambler says, is part of the appeal. “There is no hierarchy. We have people who facilitate the meetings by posing the questions and putting the chairs out – but they are also there for the same reasons as everyone else: to share experiences, talk things over, try to give each other support.”
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