Who Am I?
My name is Ryan Thompson. I am currently a personal trainer with an extensive background in social work following 14 years with several local authorities.
Even today, my work as a personal trainer involves a large part of transferable skills that I use daily to engage with people. Exercise has helped many people talk about their personal problems, to which I now feel the need and passion to share my story and experiences to men to allow them to talk openly without judgment about their emotions. It’s time to cut the stigma.
I am determined to cut the stigma attached to men talking about their mental health, enabling men to understand and listen to others about their health too. We’ve only just started but our groups have been held successfully with feedback that has been used to move forward with other men coming on board to facilitate group sessions for men to talk.
Nationally, the aim is to increase the knowledge, make men feel more at ease talking about their mental health by educating and informing others of such an important topic which results in thousands of suicides each year. Suicide being the number one single killer of men under 45, yet waiting lists and resources are still problematic, particularly via the NHS.
We all have duty to look out for one another and often formal counselling for some, which is offered by many employers as part of their package can feel too much too soon. Workshops and groups for men, we feel, is a good starting point where the environment is relaxed and less personal. Groups can help men by seeing and hearing others open up, therefore creating a feeling of inclusion and peer support.
Personally, I’ve seen it from both sides, as a professional and patient. Mental health is raw, hidden and for many disguised by drink, drugs gambling or other reckless behaviours that are deemed destructive. Together, in partnership with local councils, employers and communities change can be achieved.
I myself live with a mental health condition. It’ll never go away, but I’m learning to manage it better that I once did. Therefore, along with my team behind me I want to build this into a nationwide approach to reach out to people like yourself to start offering the above mentioned workshops and groups.