Group working to help men to talk about their struggles

The battle to help men suffering from mental health issues is being tackled by a group in Sandwell.

Jogi Ram and Ravi Kumar have started a support group to help unemployed men
Jogi Ram and Ravi Kumar have started a support group to help unemployed men

Jogi Ram and Ravi Kumar have been at the forefront of an effort to help support men across the borough through face-to-face support and and meetings.

The pair have set up a JustGiving page in order to fund a new series of weekly meetings and a job club where they can help people find work, as well as offer a place to come and have a chat.

Mr Kumar, 38, who works as a mentor to people looking for work, said his own personal struggles had been helped by a chance meeting with his old friend Mr Ram in a supermarket.

He said: "I helped Jogi with his CV, as he didn't know how to use a computer, and with finding work. But we'd kind of lost touch over the years.

"I then ran into him as I was going through my own struggles and he asked me how I was, to which I replied I was fine, but he could tell there was something not quite right.

"He gave me his number and after a while, he invited me to his group Face to Face and while I didn't go for a long time, it was the best decision I could have made when I did go because I felt so much better."

Both men had worked together in the group, but found it was more difficult to it during lockdown as people were not happy with meeting on Zoom.

Important

Mr Kumar said the next step for him with supporting people came after three of his male friends had committed suicide over the past year.

He said: "One of them was looking for work and came to me in need, but I wasn't able to help at the time because I had an achilles injury, and then four days later, he committed suicide.

"It made me realise how important the human connection is and how difficult it can be for people to not be able to engage face to face, and I often wonder how much I could or should have done then."

The new project by Mr Ram and Mr Kumar has seen people invited to come to Warley Woods to take a walk and have a chat while out in nature.

Mr Kumar said the new project would allow for weekly meetings and one-to-one support with a job club for people, with the funding from the JustGiving page helping to supply laptops, mobile phones, stationery and a printer.

He said: "The nice thing about this is we'll be able to move it around to different places, so people can travel to places they might not have been to before.

"We've always done something that allows people to come down and enjoy food and drink together, so we hope to carry this on going forwards.

"There are people out there who are suffering and we want to help them wherever we can to find work and to find people they can talk to."

To find out more and to donate visit justgiving.com/crowdfunding/reducemalesuicide

  • If you have been affected by this article contact Samaritans on 116 123 or at samaritans.org

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