ANDY'S MAN CLUB in Dunfermline has seen 1,220 men come through its doors in just the eight months it has operated.

The peer-to-peer support group for men provides a space to talk under the banner #ITSOKTOTALK

They're also helping to challenge the stigma of mental health and promote suicide prevention.

Ryan McKillop, 23, who helped set up the Dunfermline branch in 2019, has had his own struggles in dealing with mental health illness but had his life turned when joining the club.

In a bid to help others, he helped set up the Dunfermline group at the Erskine Building every Monday between 7-9pm, which offers men a cup of tea and a place to chat once a week.

He told the Press: "Without a doubt, lives have been saved.

"I have seen guys who have been at a bit of critical stage and maybe have tried to do something to harm themselves but we've managed to step in.

"People have posted on our closed Facebook page when they've had a stressful day and it's literally saved the lives of men who were about to jump off the bridge or take an overdose.

"I think the key thing is that people who didn't have anyone before now know they don't have to isolate themselves.

"They can put up a post and they'll know that someone will see it.

"Even though it's on a Monday night, the group page means it's on 24 hours a day.

"That sense of belonging is there any time, morning or night."

In the UK, suicide is still the single biggest killer of men under the age of 45.

That’s why Andy’s Man Club wants to provide a meeting place in every town across the country, challenge the stigmas of mental health and to promote suicide prevention.

What you can expect is a cup of tea and a place to sit in a circle. Every man gets a chance to say how they’re doing and five different questions are asked each week to try to steer the conversation.

Anyone with questions is free to pop along before the session starts to speak to Ryan.

"Sometimes numbers have dropped but that can be a for a multitude of reasons," Ryan added.

"Everyone's life changes and sometimes you need a little bit of time out.

"We're still averaging about 35 men a week though.

"But if you look at what it was like eight months ago, everybody didn't have anywhere to go, but now they know there is somewhere to go every Monday.

"One thing we have made sure of is that it's still open on a bank holiday.

"Monday nights have become part of people's routine and it's not really helpful to take that away."

Andy's Man Club has received a huge amount of support from the community since it began with many events over the last eight months fundraising for the group, while, in July, the Press launched our We Need To Talk campaign, which aims to raise awareness of mental health and groups such as Andy's Man Club, as well as reducing the stigma surrounding the topic.

Ryan said the group had been "overwhelmed" by the reaction.

He added: "It is extremely overwhelming all the support we have received from the community.

"Even just sharing our posts is so important because it might just help someone who sees it.

"Every week, we've had at least one new man and I do think that's been because of the help of the community.

"The plan this year is to keep that growing and reaching out for that one guy.

"If we can get 1,220 men in eight months what can we do in a year?"