Sunderland drop-in encourages men to talk about problems in the hope of reducing suicide rate in the city

A drop-in session has been set up to offer men in distress somewhere to turn to.

Thursday, 24th October 2019, 10:36 am
Updated Friday, 25th October 2019, 11:36 am
The sessions will be hosted at Marley Park Community Fire Station and inset, Councillor Michael Butler, who has worked with fellow ward councillors from Southwick and support organisations to launch Swager.

The project has been set up for men across Sunderland in response to concerns they are suffering without a place to find help as suicide rates across the region remain high.

It will be held for the first time on Friday, October 25, at Marley Park Community Fire Station from 5pm to 7pm and each week beyond.

Southwick Ward All Guys Emotional Resilience group – Swager – is being launched by Southwick ward councillors Michael Butler, Alex Samuels and Kelly Chequer, with the backing of Hendon-based Impact and help from Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service.

Councillor Butler, 35, said: “This is new and specific to Southwick and we’ve already been approached by a couple of lads in the next ward along because they have seen this and it’s something they also want to do as well.

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“It is aimed at the people of Southwick, but we’re never going to turn anyone away, that’s for sure.

“It’s going to be a drop-in to start with and it's for those who are in distress or having difficulties or something they need to get off their chest.

“We’re also going to be doing courses about stress management, depression and it’s aimed at breaking down those barriers, because there isn’t the stigma about mental health there used to be, but it’s still there.

“The suicide rate in my age group and friend and families around about who have been affected, it’s pretty high in the North East.

“People are always saying there’s nowhere to go and now we are doing this so there is somewhere to find help.”

He added his thanks to the fire service and Impact for their support in launching the group.

Anyone who would like to find out more about the support of Impact can visit its Facebook page www.facebook.com/impactnortheast/.