We have partnered with charity Tough Enough To Care since they were founded in 2019. Through this commissioned partnership, men who are struggling with their mental wellbeing can get access to our free, anonymous and silent text support service by texting the word TOUGH to 85258. Tough Enough To Care focuses on reaching out to male dominated spaces, promoting positive conversations about male mental health and breaking down some of the stigma that can act as a barrier for men reaching out for support.
In this Q&A, we spoke to Founder and CEO Stu Bratt about Tough Enough to Care’s partnership with Mental Health Innovations, how our 24/7 text support service is supporting men alongside their other services and why it’s so important to encourage positive conversations in male dominated spaces.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your role?
My name is Stu Bratt and I am the Founder and CEO of Tough Enough To Care. I oversee the day to day operations of the charity and deliver much of our internal and external training sessions.
What is Tough Enough To Care’s mission?
We want mental health to become a household conversation and to be as easy as complaining about the weather or getting excited about a bank holiday weekend.
Why is the focus on mens’ mental health such a big part of what you do?
The statistics alone (three times as many men as women die by suicide) show why male mental health needs more focus and discussion. From my own experience of operating in male dominated spaces my entire life, I have witnessed first hand the damage that can be done to those around us when we suppress our emotions and bottle up our thoughts. We all have bad times throughout our lives and we need to ensure that men are not only comfortable but also equipped with the skills to open up and to listen to one another.
Why did you partner with Mental Health Innovations? What is it about our service that appealed to you and your community?
The ease of access, complete confidentiality and the immediate access to trained volunteers was evident from the first meeting we had with Mental Health Innovations. We spent a good few weeks exploring our options and MHI came out on top every step of the way.
How else do you support men’s mental health?
We offer weekly male peer support groups for like-minded men to be there in support of one another. Egos are left at the door and every man is given equal opportunity to discuss their journey, share their experiences and support one another. We also deliver talks and training to male dominated spaces such as the military, uniformed services, heavy industry and sports clubs. We use various methods within these spaces but all have one common goal, to encourage positive conversations in male dominated spaces.
What message would you give anyone who was thinking about reaching out for support?
You have nothing to lose but everything to gain by reaching out to the amazing volunteers at Shout, the text service run by MHI. They don’t just tell you what you WANT to hear, they help you understand what you NEED to hear and will set you on the right path back into a cool, calm state of mind.