One of Jami’s aims is to save lives. We are privileged to be here for many people struggling with mental illness and distress and find it so rewarding when, following our support, their lives feel meaningful again. We know that, for some of us, rediscovering joy can take a long time and feel like a destination that is out of reach. When we are desperate, we can feel so alone and unable to reconnect with life.
We are incredibly proud of our work at Jami, which is enhanced through our partnerships with those from other organisations and sectors. One area where we share our expertise is in suicide prevention and we are currently working with the Barnet Suicide Prevention Partnership. As part of this local initiative, we want to promote the launch of the first London Andy’s Man Club, a national charity that supports working-age men to talk about their mental health, which is coming to Barnet on the 28th March. Andy’s Man Club weekly get-togethers, led by men who have been through their own struggles, provide an opportunity for men to talk about their feelings and support each other.
Our experience is that men benefit from having their own peer-led spaces. We also know that sometimes sharing our vulnerability outside of our immediate community can bring a welcome anonymity. We spoke to Finchley United Synagogue’s (Kinloss) Rabbi Jeremy Lawrence, a Jami-trained Mental Health First Aider, about his experience of providing support to men going through difficult times.
Rabbi Lawrence feels it can be very hard for men to open up and share what’s really on their mind. He says: “We need to create as many avenues as possible for people. In my rabbinate, I have tragically needed to support families who have been bereaved by suicide, but I have also had the opportunity to support men who have felt comfortable enough to confide in me.”
He continues: “Some people choose to go and speak to a therapist when they are distressed but others unburden themselves to someone they simply trust because maybe they feel they will not be judged. As communities, it is essential that we can create opportunities for people to share how they are feeling. If we know someone is struggling, we then have an opportunity to signpost to services and support them.”
Andy’s Man Club is a space for men, who may not be feeling okay, to be able to share and support each other. We are very proud that Barnet is getting this resource.
For further information about Andy’s Man Club, please visit www.andysmanclub.co.uk
Jami is also here to support anyone in the Jewish community. Please check our website for further information about our services, education events and café programmes. www.jamiuk.org