A men's only mental health group is to hold its first session in one County Durham town in the coming weeks following the tragic death of a young man.

Liam McNally from Murton was just 28 when on December 22 of last year, he left his house to take his dog for a walk but never returned.

Following a call to the police from concerned mum Julie Richards, Liam’s body was found with his “very loyal” dog still by his side and it was discovered he had taken his own life.

The Northern Echo: Liam McNally.Liam McNally. (Image: JULIE RICHARDS)

Now, months later, friends and family of Liam have come together to organise an Andy’s Man Club to be set up in the town to give men the opportunity to meet others and discuss their mental health.

The charity organisation already has nearly 200 clubs running across the nation and once Murton’s group holds its first session on April 8 from 7-9pm in the Glebe Centre, it will be the second in County Durham.

Ahead of the first weekly meeting, Liam’s mum Julie has said it feels like this is her son’s legacy and is something positive coming out of the ordeal.

She said: “I decided I wanted to focus on doing something positive – making a positive outcome out of a negative one. Talking to one of his friends about mental health, we spoke about Andy’s Man Club.

“From there, myself and a few others had a few meetings with mental health organisations where we decided a group like this was needed in Murton.

The Northern Echo: Liam with his son Hunter.Liam with his son Hunter. (Image: JULIE RICHARDS)

“We had a bit of funding as well as using donations that were given at Liam’s funeral – but now it's confirmed that the group will be on from April 8.”

She added: “This is a good feeling as it’s like Liam’s legacy. Liam’s mental health was the reason he took his own life, so maybe if this club had been there before he may have gone there.”

One of Liam’s close friends, Christopher Nutton, will be one of four trained facilitators of the new group and explained its format.

Each week, attendees sat in a circle will be asked questions about their week including how they’re feeling, a positive thing that they can note and are invited to get anything off their chest.

Biscuits and drinks are also on offer as well as general chat, as Christopher explained it is a very “informal” and chilled-out atmosphere, and nobody is forced to talk if they wish to stay quiet.

He said: “We started going to Andy’s Man Club in January as it was a really hard time for us. For me, I’ve found that it has helped me monumentally.

“It has given me somewhere to vent and seek advice from other men.”

For anyone nervous to head along, Christopher has urged those interested or sceptical to take that first step and come along to the first session.

He said: “At first it's difficult – walking into a room full of men that you don’t know. The common thing we say is that we were all there at one point and had to come through that door.

“The biggest piece of advice I would say is to take that first step. Come, sit and chat – it’s really informal.


Get more content including the stories that matter to your community from The Northern Echo for just £2 for 2 months for a limited time only here.

“Once you’ve been and get a feel for it you’ll enjoy it as time goes on. It’s a daunting prospect but you’re not going to know about it until you go and experience it yourself.

“90% of the lads who have been say they feel better by the end of the session as they have been able to speak to someone about it.”

If you are in need of support you can contact the following:

- Samaritans is available, day or night, 365 days of the year. You can call them for free on 116 123, email them at jo@samaritans.org, or visit www.samaritans.org to find your nearest branch.

- If U Care Share on 0191 387 5661 or text IUCS to 85258

- SANE on 07984 967 708, Calm on 0800 58 58 58