Welcome to The Westerly Club

A community group for men where you’ll find support and advice, a safe space to talk and be to heard.

The Westerly Club harks back to bygone fishing days, when you would lean on your Westerly if the days’ catch had been disappointing. Your Westerly is there to support you, to lift you up when you’re feeling down, to give you help when you feel you need it most.

Who might need The Westerly Club?

Whether you have struggled with mental health in the past, are currently, or just feel strongly that how men’s mental health is viewed in today’s society needs to change then The Westerly Club is for you. It is your community. Your support network. Your place to chat and share advice and experiences.

How does it work?

For now, The Westerly Club is operating as a virtual group – the meeting place. As restrictions change and lift there will be opportunities to meet, for those who would like to. This community can develop in any way it’s needed to. It is here for you to make it what you need.

Who will I meet?

Alongside other club members we have Ambassadors on hand to talk to. This hand-picked selection of men are local faces you will probably recognise, representing many of the sectors that are not only male dominated but where mental health issues seem to be more prevalent.

Steven Bennett

The Lincolnshire Chef, Owner and Chef Patron at Healing Manor Hotel

The Lincolnshire Chef, Owner and Chef Patron at Healing Manor Hotel

Why is men’s mental health such a taboo subject?
There is still an underlying sexism in today’s society. Men, especially those that are aged 30+ have grown up in a society that reverts back to ‘cave men’ mentality. Men need to be strong and hold other people up. You put yourself second after everyone else. It’s almost seen as a weakness to have mental health issues. It’s a perceived as a weakness from others.

Why do you think men tend to steer away from talking about their mental health?
Ultimately, it’s breaking through the stigma to allow ourselves to accept that we might actually have an issue with mental health. Life is busy for many of us, so it gets locked up in a box and put away. Most of us men are not content in how in touch we are with our emotions, how we express ourselves emotionally and how to understand what is going on mentally. Sadly, it can be too late before we even realise.

Why do you feel it is so important for this barrier surrounding men and their mental health to be broken down?
There is such a high percentage of men who sadly die from suicide each year as well as men who turn homeless, all of which relates back to their mental health. The barriers that we as men put up around ourselves can stop us from driving forward with our lives - be it friendships, relationships or our careers. There are still so many men that see mental health as a taboo subject. We have almost lost touch with reality and it’s important that people can start to understand themselves and find the help that they need before they turn elsewhere.

Andy Rouse

CEO of Pinnacle; and, Fusion Interactive Corporation, snooker legend and Pitch at the Palace mentor

CEO of Pinnacle; and, Fusion Interactive Corporation, former snooker legend and Pitch at the Palace mentor

Why do you think men’s mental health such a taboo subject?
Well it’s how society perceive men and the male role as being so strong!

Why do you think men tend to steer away from talking about their mental health?
Men steer away from mental health issues as it is not perceived as an illness more a weakness!

Why do you feel it is so important for this barrier surrounding men and their mental health to be broken down? (In essence, why are initiatives such as The Westerly Club of such importance?)
We should all push to break barriers down in all mental health. Not just men’s as the key here is in the word ‘health’. So much in life is decided under pressure, from career decisions to relationships so for a start we all need a healthy mindset so the decisions we make are informed. That’s just the basics. Add in pressure from life’s catastrophes and you can see where we get in a tangle. With men’s mental health everything is geared towards being mentally tough to achieve life goals when it should be geared towards how at peace you are with yourself and how happy you are. I’m no Jordan Peterson but I do feel we should be more open about our feelings - this would make life a lot less complicated and pressurised.

Garry Bainbridge

Director of IshFish UK, professional yachtsman for the last 20 years competing in the world’s biggest races, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competitor

Director of IshFish UK, BJJ competitor, professional yachtsman for the last 20 years competing in the world’s biggest races

Why do you think men’s mental health such a taboo subject?
I think this is down to being a man and showing weakness… Growing up we never talked about stuff like this, it was all football and boxing or whatever sport was on. Looking back now, I would say lots of my friends growing up had problems and sadly some of them are no longer with us.

Why do you think men tend to steer away from talking about their mental health?
The stigma of how men are seen if the admit to having problems, being brought up to be strong and keep a stiff upper lip even when things aren’t going your way.

Why do you feel it is so important for this barrier surrounding men and their mental health to be broken down? (In essence, why are initiatives such as The Westerly Club of such importance?)
It’s such a different world now and I would hope my children feel that they could speak to me about anything – that’s how my wife and myself are bringing them up.

Rob Draper

Assistant Operations Manager for ABP, former British Army, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competitor

Assistant Operations Manager for ABP, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competitor, ex-British Army

Why do you think men’s mental health such a taboo subject?
I think it has long been engrained that the men are the protectors, steadfast and stoic. We cannot be weak or suffer as we are the providers for the family. I think some of those things are still true, but men absolutely do suffer. To admit you need help or are suffering may be seen as weakness among your peers. If you cannot look after yourself how are you supposed to look after your family?

Why do you think men tend to steer away from talking about their mental health?
The phrases you hear a lot are, ‘keep your chin up’, ‘stiff upper lip’, ‘you'll be alright’. Really? Will I? Hearing those sorts of comments make it seem like it’s not ok for men to suffer, let alone speak about it. We mask it, hide it, bury it deep inside, sometimes until it is too late. How will your colleagues view you if you suffer? Will your employers think you are incapable of completing your work effectively? All of these issues just compound your current issues and exacerbate them.

Why do you feel it is so important for this barrier surrounding men and their mental health to be broken down? (In essence, why are initiatives such as The Westerly Club of such importance?)
Men, like everyone else, need help. It should be seen that it actually takes strength and courage to talk about your issues, let alone admit that you have any. If men are given the freedom and respect to be able to speak about their issues, it will make every aspect of their lives better. Make them a better father, husband, worker, friend. Empower them to potentially help and support others also. If men know their friends suffer, it may encourage them to be more open and seek help. I am passionate about men’s mental health because I suffer with it myself, and have seen first-hand the negative impacts it can have on, not just your life, but on the lives of those around you. Seeking not just help, but the right help, changed my life for the better and I would encourage any man, no matter their age, to do the same.

Chris Carr

Joint Managing Director Carr & Carr (Builders), Chairman of the Grimsby District Builders Association, Board Member of Federation of Master Builders, Member of the Construction Leadership Council, Former Coach Grimsby RUFC

Joint Managing Director Carr & Carr (Builders), Chairman of the Grimsby District Builders Association, Board Member of Federation of Master Builders, Member of the Construction Leadership Council, Former Coach Grimsby RUFC

Why is men’s mental health such a taboo subject?
Mental health in general is seen as a negative attribute, it’s seen as a weakness. Men feel they are less manly if they talk about their wellbeing and mental health. They just carry on and put on a brave face.

Why do you think men tend to steer away from talking about their mental health?
As a boy from a young age you are told to ‘man up’, ‘grin and bear it’, ‘deal with it’. You were never encouraged to talk to anyone about how you felt. This just carries on into adult life.

Why do you feel it is so important for this barrier surrounding men and their mental health to be broken down? (In essence, why are initiatives such as The Westerly Club of such importance?)
As I work around two of the ‘manliest’ environments - construction and rugby - I can see what bottling up these feelings can do. Every single working day in the UK, two construction workers take their own lives. This is higher than any other industry. A fifth of all work-related illness is due to stress, anxiety and depression. We need to breakdown these barriers and do something to help these men - fathers, step-fathers, partners, husbands and sons.

Christian Reavill

Committee Member at Holton-Le-Clay Cricket Club, Plasterer

Holton-Le-Clay Cricket Club Committee Member, plasterer

Why do you think men’s mental health such a taboo subject?
Men are plagued by the idea of masculinity, and the notion that they are unable to express any kind of emotion. Expression of sadness, fear or uncertainty poses a massive threat to the ‘masculine aura’ that is stereotypically mean to surround any and every man. It is an age-old idea that men should not cry or talk about their worries; how many people from this generation or older have seen their own father cry for example? There is a certain damaging stigma around men expressing their true feelings which leads them to bottle up their feelings until they are too much to bear. For men, avoidance of fragile masculinity is more appealing than avoidance of mental health issues, something that needs to be addressed.

Why do you feel it is so important for this barrier surrounding men and their mental health to be broken down? (In essence, why are initiatives such as The Westerly Club of such importance?)
Men’s suicide rates are on the rise, with men accounting for about three-quarters of suicide deaths registered in 2019 compared to women. While women seem more likely to suffer with mental health issues according to statistics, men are more likely to commit suicide as a result of their mental health. This highlights a great issue in the amount of help sought after and received by men in regard to their mental health. If the stigma of men’s mental health can be broken down, hopefully more men will feel comfortable speaking out about their issues and getting help. Realising there is another way out.

Vince Weavers

Co-Founder of Ebb & Flo Living, environmental campaigner, CrossFit enthusiast, Project & Contract Manager at Ørsted

Co-Founder of Ebb & Flo Living, environmental campaigner, CrossFit enthusiast, Project & Contract Manager at Ørsted

Why is men’s mental health such a taboo subject?
By definition; a taboo subject is something that society regards as something to be avoided. The mere attachment or association of men’s mental health as a taboo subject is pigeonholing it so. Therefore, to talk openly about men’s mental health needs to become a subject openly discussed and talked about.

Why do you think men tend to steer away from talking about their mental health?
The societal norms that men should be ‘tough’ and ‘fearless’ further complicates the issue as many men feel they are not a ‘man’ if they show any sign of vulnerability or weakness. We may fail to recognise or act on warning signs and may be unwilling or unable to seek help.

Why do you feel it is so important for this barrier surrounding men and their mental health to be broken down?
It’s important to recognise the signs and encourage each other to speak about how we are feeling there’s no shame in feeling vulnerable, lost or sad; these are normal emotions that we all experience. It’s important to recognise, pay attention to and communicate with others regarding various warning signs such as increased risk-taking behaviour, addiction, loss of enthusiasm and changes in diet or routine. Finally, in the ever-changing world we find ourselves a part of our evolution stopped many years ago. Perceived pressures from our obsession with technology and social media can have a very quick and meaningful negative impact. In my opinion there more we talk the more chance we have of balancing on the wire. A problem shared is a problem halved.

Our ambassadors are very open to talking about mental health, their experiences, sharing any words of wisdom or simply being here to listen to you. They are here to encourage the Westerly community to develop and to encourage you too. Tag them in your posts and your questions. They will be here to help support the community as it grows.

Regular speakers or interviews will also be scheduled to talk to the group once a month. They will be vast and varied. News of who will be speaking and when, will be posted within the group itself and on social media so be sure to follow Facebook on the blog.

The Westerly Club – working together to support, engage and get men talking. It’s time to end the stigma.

News of who will be speaking and when, will be posted within the group itself, on the blog and on social media so be sure to follow Facebook, Instagram & Twitter.

Have a question? Send us a message.
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