Burnley pals are on a mission to get men talking and end stigma around male mental health

Five friends from Burnley, connected through the loss of someone close to them from suicide, have joined together to form a support network to banish the stigma attached to men's mental health.

'Casual Minds - Matter' has already held its first session and those who attended were able to talk about anything on their mind... from everyday problems and worries to wider issues including housing and family difficulties.

And the timing of the launch of the group is perfect as Christmas can be a difficult and challenging time for so many people.

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The five behind the project are Joe Trafford, Justin Pate, Ben Riley (Chock), Leigh Smith (Smithy) and Darren Tahir.

The founders of Casual Minds-Matters (left to right) Darren Tahir, Ben Riley, Justin Pate, Joe Trafford and Leigh Smith.

Explaining the ethos behind the group Ben said: "We are just five average blokes hoping to help where we can and hopefully help make a change.

"Between us we have the contacts to help you with whatever life troubles you may have. We all come from different walks of life with a mixture of working backgrounds and personal experiences which will be very beneficial for the group.

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"We welcome males from all different age groups who we hope will come along, have something decent to eat, have a laugh with other like minded lads and most importantly an opportunity to get things off your chest without feeling judged or silly.

"We all struggle as blokes, we all get down but we are a team and nobody deserves to feel alone."

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The logo for the new group that aims to encourage men to talk about their feelings and problems without feeling judged

Everything said and discussed within the group will remain 100% confidential and there is also an opportunity to talk privately to a volunteer or post a private message on social media.

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The group has applied to become a community interest company so all funds raised and profit made will be ploughed into the organisation.

Darren brings with him a wealth of experience working as a social worker specialising in family, children and housing so he can offer expert advice to those struggling with these issues.

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Working hand in hand with other agencies, 'Casual Minds' will be able to signpost people to organisations that cam help them with a range of issues including, work, training and education opportunities and life skills.

Darren said: "Casual Minds- Matter would not be possible without the fantastic partnerships of like-minded organisations, who believe passionately in the power of connection and peer support to overcome mental health challenges.

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"We welcome other services and agencies to signpost to our services and we would be incredibly grateful to all partner agencies who will generously support our work and promote our services so that our community can continue to grow and thrive.

"We’re very proud of the interest that has already been shown via social media and it is clearly evident that our services are in demand."

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In the New Year the group is planning to hold a series of walks and activities and the next session will be held on Monday, January 10th at St Catherine’s Community Centre, Mary St, Burnley, from 7pm-9pm. Home cooked food will be available thanks to Leigh who is a talented chef.

If you would like more information or to post a message to the group find them on Facebook or Instagram casual _minds-matter.