A GROUP of churches have united to give money to a mental health service.

Churches Together Newton Aycliffe donated £150 to ManHealth, a mental health focused organisation which arranges peer support groups for men in ten locations across the North-East.

The funds will go towards supporting their work and contribute to overall running costs, including room hire and refreshments.

Paul Bannister, director of ManHealth, said: “Our culture is getter better at talking openly about mental health, but we still have a way to go.

“Many of us still feel ashamed at confessing our own struggles and it seems to me that shame, at its core, is the fear of judgement by others."

Manhealth holds group sessions that are free and run on a voluntary drop-in basis, giving men the opportunity to speak with other men to share experiences of their struggles with mental health.

According to their website, men between 25 and 54-years-old account for the largest number of suicide deaths in the UK, and suicide is the biggest killer of men aged 50 or under.

Mr Bannister said: “If everyone struggles at some point or other in their lives, where is the shame in struggling? How can we judge others for being like ourselves?

“It’s possible that by acknowledging that we all find life difficult at times it’ll be easier to talk openly about our individual difficult experiences."

The organisation hopes to give more men who are struggling with their mental state the opportunity to speak out without worrying about being judged, and to talk to empathetic like-minded people who can listen to their problems.

For more information about ManHealth or to find your local group visit: www.manhealth.org.uk, email info@manhealth.org.uk or call 01388 320023.