It is the final days of the MenSpeak fundraising campaign to support the launch of a new app and platform aiming to upscale and transform the MenSpeak Men’s Group experience.
Donations are accepted until 10th September to help build the foundations for men’s groups to become as accessible as 12-step programmes such as Alcoholics Anonymous and treat addictions during their initial stages.
Kenny Mammarella-D’Cruz founded MenSpeak Men’s Groups to create a community of men connecting in depth. He launched daily live online groups during the pandemic for men struggling in isolation and suffering from addictions and other conditions whilst coping with internal conflict.
Their success has resulted in the rapid expansion of the MenSpeak Men’s Group network, and the money raised during the fundraising campaign will work to ensure the winning formula can be expanded into a private online community platform where men have immediate access to a space where they can hang out, be heard and get real.
‘The main issue with men’s mental health is a lack of community and conscious connection. Rather than men being ‘bad’ and needing ‘fixing’, they seek to be heard,’ explained Kenny.
‘The solution is the men’s groups I have facilitated for over 20 years and every day since lockdown. Without talking, men’s lives can be controlled by shame, and they can descend into suicidal ideation or addiction. The groups are a way beyond this helpless existence.’
Moving to an all-in-one platform will allow MenSpeak to reach more men more quickly and securely. In addition, increased efficiency, such as streamlined payment options and subscription services combined with an expanded network including new events, retreats, and training, represents an exciting new chapter in the MenSpeak story.
Bertie Harriman-Smith, 29, has been part of the MenSpeak community for several years and has experienced first-hand the benefits of men’s groups and the change they can bring about. ‘I had a great life until I joined university, where a host of mental health issues came bubbling to the surface, depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and panic attacks,’ he reflected.
‘In the groups, I finally found relief from my issues and a sense of not being alone with them. I went beyond just ‘coping’ with my problems into living a free, creative, and thriving life. I found a brilliant community, and most importantly, I found self-acceptance and self-love, making the transition from lost boy to conscious man.’
The new app and platform will play a key role in Kenny achieving his long-term objectives of making men’s groups available in 12-step treatment programmes and reducing their needs in future.
Men can wait up to 18 weeks for mental health treatment on the NHS and will usually be offered a limited number of cognitive behavioural therapy sessions. However, the immediate availability of men’s groups mean they can be the solution to waiting for overstretched services, and early intervention can make significant savings to the NHS.
Find out more about the GoFundMe campaign to create a MenSpeak Men’s Group platform and app that expands the community through an online member-only network. September 10th also marks World Suicide Prevention Day, which closely connects with Men Speak’s early intervention ethos.