A SERVICE is about to launch to help men struggling with their mental health.

On Monday, May 25, an innovative service goes live to support men in the Bishop Auckland and Shildon area.

North-East charity ManHealth are launching the new webchat and connect service.

It is funded by Gaunless Gateway Big Local and the Bishop Auckland Shildon Area Action Partnership.

ManHealth run peer support groups across the North-East and supported more than 3000 men in 2019.

They hope the service will help men across the area who may be struggling because of social isolation due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The chat service will be staffed form 5pm to 9pm from Monday to Friday for the next six months.

When the chat is not live men who visit the site can request a call back.

The service will be staffed by ManHealth team members who have received training in online service delivery from the Samaritans.

Professionals and support workers will also be able to make referrals via the webpage.

Just over three out of four suicides are by men and suicide is the biggest cause of death for men under 35 according to the Office for National Statistics.

12.5 per cent of men in the UK are suffering from one of the common mental health disorders.

ManHealth want to help these men, their staff are non-professional but all have a lived experience of mental ill health.

They are there to listen, support, inform and signpost.

The rationale behind incorporating live web chat is sometimes online typing can be more comfortable than talking.

ManHealth trained volunteers will read messages and respond in real time, helping men work through what is on their mind and building the trust that will make it easier for them to take the first step towards participating in a support group.

In some cases in agreement with the client ManHealth staff will follow up the web chat and connect with a phone call.

Barbara Slasor community development ;ead said: “The Gaunless Gateway Big Local are excited about funding this new service model for engaging with men in need both directly and via support workers in health, and family services.

“Bringing together a referral service with one to one online support has been a key priority for our partnership.”

Andrew Walker, area action partnership coordinator added: “Im pleased the area action partnership could support this project and it’s a really good example of partnership working with the Gaunless Gateway and the area action partnership coming together to fund ManHealth”

The service goes live on Monday, May 25 at 5pm.

Find the support service at manhealth.org.uk/bishop-shildon

For more information about the County Durham charity visit manhealth.org.uk or call 01388-320023.