I just want to give some personal feedback on how Mentell has helped me. Firstly, I feel it’s a blessing that I even came across the group. It was my partner who found Mentell online as she’d been searching for a support group specifically for males. To be honest, she’ll even admit herself that it was a struggle to find anything.
At the time, I was at a real low point in my life, I was really struggling with life and I was just going through the motions each day, wondering when I was at work if I should just give it all up. I just wanted to shut the world out. I’ve struggled with my mental health all my life, so it wasn’t new to me and I’d never asked for support. I also felt like I was putting my relationship at risk as I was having negative thoughts such as, ‘why is she with me,’ and ‘I am nothing.’ My partner was really supportive and I know now that it was just in my head. Our relationship has been tested with three miscarriages in the space of 2 years. I was carrying all this on my shoulders, wanting to be strong and supportive for my partner but feeling like I was breaking down inside.
Anyway, one evening after work, my partner told me she’d found me a male support group. She spoke really positively about what she’d read of the group. I was apprehensive understandably and she suggested I just attend two sessions and then take it from there. She said you can’t really tell from just one session, but if after two and my heart wasn’t in it, she’d be happy I’d given it my best shot.
I remember her words seven months later, ‘I think I’ve found the perfect group for you, but now the rest is up to you.’ So, reluctantly I thought I’d give it a try, as it couldn’t get any worse for me. That first session at Hyde Football Stadium I attended feeling really nervous as I’m actually a private guy and I haven’t even told my family or friends half of the stuff I’ve been dealing with. My partner knew everything, but I feared others will just tell me to “MAN UP” or “snap out of it.”
So, I remember walking in the room and the meeting the Mentell facilitators. They immediately made me feel welcome and before I knew it we were all seated together in a circle. The lead facilitator began with - welcome to Mentell, pull up a chair, the hardest part is done now. For me this was a really powerful statement as I thought WOW, I’ve just taken a step forward right now!
So, seven months later and I can hardly believe the amount of negative stuff I’ve got out in the group, things I thought I’d never share with total strangers; but it works, and I can’t thank Mentell enough. The group has taught me to empty my metaphorical bag in the circle, leaving the negative thoughts there and replace these with positive thoughts that can be put back in my bag and taken with me, for the week going forward. This has worked really well and I can say that my mindset is completely different now, as instead of going down the negative track over and over again, the circle has redirected me to think positive thoughts more and while I do continue to have blips every now and then, those blips are not even half as bad.
What I also find in the circle is that there is always somebody who can relate to your problems and vice versa. This makes you feel like you’re not alone and the positive vibes bounce off the members of the group. I always leave Mentell with a higher number, I could present as a 6 but just talking means I leave a 7 or even an 8. This is my personal experience anyway. So, what I want to say is a big thank you to everyone involved with Mentell, whatever you do for this incredible organisation you’re all stars.