Humans of Scotland

Gary’s story – setting up a support group

"I’ll never forget how I felt, and the family was collapsing around me"

Man standing with arms crossed wearing a 'mind the men' t shirt
This story is about: Mental HealthSuicideSupport group

“My young cousin took his own life. He’d been suffering with poor mental health, but he was talking, he was talking to his mum and dad. He had a wide circle of friends and he was loved by everybody and he gave a lot of love, he was a really special guy.

I got a phone call, my sister phoned me and told me Grant’s dead. I’ll never forget how I felt, and the family was collapsing around me. Four hundred people turned up at the funeral, it was really special. We had a tree with people writing memories of him, we had photographs of him – he used to go travelling round India, he was a bit of a dude and we shared stories about him, and it was beautiful. It was such a hard time.

I’d heard about this men’s club, Andy’s Man Club and a friend who comes from Oban had set one up and he said why don’t you do one in Glasgow. It felt like the right time to do it. I thought if this is in anyway a legacy for Grant, for my cousin, to show that we’re doing something, well I don’t want anyone else to feel what we felt. If we could do something simple in Glasgow maybe some other men could find there are actually options and wouldn’t take their own life.

On the night 31 men turned up. It was amazing. It grew and it grew. It’s true peer to peer support. We just let them talk. We stop for teas and coffees, that’s when men who didn’t know each other start talking. It’s amazing to watch because we get men that come in with their heads between their legs, they can hardly look at you, really quite shy, absolutely worried about coming in the door.

We’ve gone our own way now, we’re Mind the Men. I always feel very positive, seeing the transformation, we’re seeing the guys’ journeys. You’re reassuring these men that they’re not alone. They’ve now got a club that they’re part of. That’s Mind the Men. “