Ex-Man Utd player becomes ambassador for male mental health group

A former Manchester United footballer has become the first ambassador of a Wirral organisation that supports men’s mental health.

Former policeman Phil Roberts came up with the idea for JourneyMEN after realising there was a huge gap in provision for men in mental distress, which often had tragic consequences.

It launched in April 2020 with the help of a £10,000 grant from the Steve Morgan Foundation.

It’s been a busy summer for JourneyMEN with one of the highlights being ex-Man Utd player Lee Martin agreeing to become an ambassador. 

Martin famously scored the goal that helped Manchester United win the 1990 Wembley Cup final replay.

Explaining his decision to become an ambassador he said: “Male mental health is a massive issue and I was delighted to see the hugely valuable work of JourneyMEN and to become its ambassador. 

“It has never been more vital than now during the current coronavirus crisis that men get the support they need. I was keen to lend my support after hearing about the wonderful front-line work of JourneyMEN to help men who would otherwise find it difficult to access local services.”  

JourneyMEN’s service is unique in both providing direct services but also acting as a tailored guide for men enabling them to access other services they need quickly. 

The group has run a number of other events including walk and talk sessions and fishing club events.

Phil Roberts said: “I have been involved in community police work for the best part of two decades. What I have learned was that so many problems that came to the attention of the police and first responder services were very often issues to do with mental health underlying them and unfortunately unacknowledged.

“Too often, men faced the revolving door of the legal system and medical services with no through route to the right support at the right time. As I learnt, that was not because services were not here, but because men at those stages of vulnerability could not navigate their way through to access the right support best suited for their individual situation. I knew that we could do better than that. And that is where our journey begins.” 

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