"Tackling the stigma around men's mental health": Wyre town's efforts to celebrate male residents for International Men's day

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A "celebration of local men" will take place on Tuesday November 19 at Fleetwood sea cadets base, to provide support for the men of the Fylde coast on International Men's day.

The event, which takes place between 11am and 3pm, is sponsored by Fleetwood-based charity Men’s Shed and organised by Stuart Macrae, 47 from Cleveleys, and Fleetwood Town Community Trust (FTCT.)

Fleetwood sea cadets base will host the International Men's day event.

Fleetwood sea cadets base will host the International Men's day event.

The event will be opened by Fleetwood Town chairman Andy Pilley.

Mr Macrae decided to approach John Hartley at FTCT after he noticed a "serious isolation" surrounding men and mental health in Fleetwood, when he worked as a mental health peer support worker in the town.

He said: "It occurred to me that men had no idea where to get help if they needed it. There is a massive stigma attached to males when it comes to mental health issues.

"I had this idea a few years ago to set up something for those men who need help, and I wanted to be able to signpost them to professional bodies.

"It's about time the male population got some recognition, and I hope this event gives people that opportunity."

John Hartley, community sports development officer at the Community Trust, was approached by Stuart to help organise the day.

He said: “I joined forces with Stuart to organise this International Men’s Day event so we could bring the community together and give residents the opportunity to find out about local organisations and networks they can look to for support.

“As well as celebrating men who have a positive impact on the town, it’s the perfect chance to meet new people. By opening up and sharing experiences, we can help tackle social isolation and improve mental health across the town.”

Representatives from a number of charities and community groups including Healthier Fleetwood, Trinity Hospice, Lancashire Mind, Prince’s Trust, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services will be present on the day to provide support and advice.

Guest speakers will also appear throughout the day, including professional boxer Brian Rose, Flakefleet primary school headteacher Dave McPartlin, and Men's Shed founder Tony O'Neill.

Mr O'Neill, founder of Fleetwood charity Men's Shed, said: "This event is about bringing Fleetwood together as a community, and respecting the fact that men have feelings too.

"So many men bottle things up as there’s still a stigma surrounding men opening up and talking about how they feel, and this shouldn’t be the case.

“This is the perfect event to show men that there are others in the same boat as them. We want to nullify the stigma surrounding men’s mental health, and let them know it’s okay to ask for help.”