Buxton bars turn blue to raise awareness for men's metal health
Bars and barbers across Buxton are turning blue this week to help men who may be struggling with their mental health and highlight the support available.
Charity Mentell has come up with the idea of getting the messages of help and support out to the places where men go regularly to help save lives.
Across the High Peak, pubs have signed up to the scheme which sees blue decorations, and information leaflets pop up for one week to start the conversation about male mental health.
Campaigner Jo Mellor became involved with the charity after her son took his own life five years ago aged just 26.
The 55-year-old said: “I never thought I would lose my only son to suicide but now I’m doing all I can to keep other families together and to help men when they need it most.
“For 73 per cent of men in the year before their suicide they will not seek any medical help but they might however, have a hair cut or a pint.
"So if men aren’t asking for help we are taking the support to the community and putting it out there so it can be accessed by anyone who needs it.”
For thousands of years, men have gathered in circles to share stories with one another, build community and solve problems – often around a fire – and now Mentell’s mission is to reconnect men with the circle, by offering every man the opportunity to talk.
The charity provides free circles for men aged 18 or over to talk, or just listen, in a safe and confidential space.
The businesses who have already got involved in Buxton include The 19th Hole, Cavendish Golf Club, Lee Wood Hotel, Dove Holes cricket club, KVLT hair and Changes unisex salon.
Jo and the team also go out to football matches to let men know there is a safe space to talk if they need it
She said: “I know this campaign has saved lives and I want to keep doing as much as I can to spread the message and let men know they are not alone.
"We were at a Derby County match handing out business cards to everyone as they walked past.
"By the time I had got home there was already a message from someone who had reached out to ask for help which just shows how important it is.”
Jo, from Little Hayfield, says it is important to only have a blue business for a short period of time.
"That way you take notice of it rather than it blending into the background and then it's gone again so it really does catch people’s attention when it returns.
“I’d love more pubs and bars to get involved as even if we help one person from a new pub it’s all been worthwhile.”
Anyone who wants to turn their business blue can email [email protected]
Anyone who needs to reach for help or support should visit https://www.mentell.org.uk/ for the full list of virtual and face to face support sessions.