For Men To Talk mental health group returns to Jones' Cafe in Biggleswade

Members can meet in person at Jones’ Cafe on Tuesday, August 3, from 6pm to 8pm.

Tuesday, 27th July 2021, 3:04 pm
Updated Tuesday, 27th July 2021, 3:06 pm

After 15 months since its last physical meeting, a men’s mental health group is returning to Biggleswade to share feelings about anxiety, depression and grief.

Husband and father, Luke Newman formed For Men To Talk in December 2019, and is delighted that members can once again meet in person at Jones’ Cafe on Tuesday, August 3, from 6pm to 8pm.

The 40-year-old has suffered for a number of years with grief and anxiety since losing his mother and sister to cancer, and after attending counselling and therapy, Luke recognised that there weren't any groups for men "just simply to talk".

Luke with his sister, Heidi. Photo: Luke Newman.

“The meetings are very informal”, said Luke, who is from Potton.

“There are no experts on hand. But leaflets and contact numbers for professional groups, such as the Samaritans, MIND and CALM are available in an Information Corner for those men who recognise that they may need further help.

“I have been busy since the last physical meeting. Our virtual meetings are going from strength and For Men To Talk is now a Community Interest Company. This means it's a limited company, which is a benefit to the community.

"I have also designed and written The Mental Health Moles book, showing 52 storyboards with advice about mental health topics.”

Luke with his mother. Photo: Luke Newman.

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After setting up a Facebook page on Boxing Day in 2019, the first For Men To Talk group meetings were held at Jones’ Café in Biggleswade in February and March 2020, attracting over 20 to each event, where they talked about anything from football, television, and movies, to feelings.

The physical groups were forced to stop at the end of March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but continued every Wednesday with meetings virtually via Zoom, and these online meetings will still continue.

Luke first started suffering from depression after his mother Jen Newman died aged 54 in 2005, which continued after his sister Heidi Melrose died aged 44 in 2015.

He added: "I have struggled. But I feel very fortunate that I have always been able to open up and talk to not only family and friends, but strangers in the street. I know that people, especially men struggle with that. We need to be more open about our mental health.”

The group aims to meet every first Tuesday of the month in the cafe.