With mental health being such an important issue, you’d be surprised to hear that it has been difficult to access mental health provision for men on Wirral – until now! Phil Roberts has known this for some time and that is why he set up JourneyMEN CIC, to fulfill a need that was not being met.
However, it all started for Phil when he was working for the police. It was during this time that he realised that many people he was dealing with day-in, day-out needed mental health support, not a night in the cells. That was when he became aware there was brilliant support out there, just needing to be joined up and men guided towards it.
In 2018 Phil became part of Wirral’s Early Help Team. From there, Phil started to engage with his contacts and organisations in the health support sector and drew these together under an early intervention “Mental Health Umbrella.”
Not being someone to hang around, Phil invited local organisations, professionals and potential beneficiaries to an ‘Open Day’ and the response was overwhelming. One of those was the Neo Community Café who offered Phil premises on Chester Street, Birkenhead. The need was clearly there, the integrated support required was identified and JourneyMEN CIC was born.
So, what does JourneyMEN CIC do? It is aimed at local men in need of mental health support and involves a ‘Journey Plan’ tailored to each person. This plan goes from initial assessment, ongoing support such as counselling, training and social interaction, right through to helping men become job-ready, be able to volunteer, or upskill with further training. Phil is particularly proud of the narrow boat which allows for a ‘floating counselling’ facility. The guys can have a relaxing trip up the canal, meet new people, get trained and even gain an accredited qualification to become a skipper!
Phil is all about community and he is seeking to develop JourneyMEN CIC further. For example, Phil is developing a ‘Man Cave’ – a safe space - where there’ll be the opportunity for men to network with others with similar issues, partake in various fun activities and ‘get out of the house.’ This will need money, so Phil will be exploring what funding might be available.
And what has Phil learned after being on his own ‘journey?’
“One important piece of advice is to surround yourself with the right people as you cannot do everything yourself no matter how good you think you are! And do not struggle as there is a lot of help out there and you will learn from your mistakes. The Enterprise Hub and Community Action Wirral are worth their weight in gold so get in touch with them! Both Paul and Zel worked together to give me the belief to go forward, and without their help, JourneyMEN CIC would not have happened.”
To find out more about JourneyMEN CIC or if you are a man with mental health issues needing support, you can contact Phil on 0151 792 9159 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.journeymencic.com