“Get Men Talking” Initiative Launches in Surrey

Taking the taboo out of talking about men’s mental health and offering free training and support in Surrey.


PRESS RELEASE – 7 February 2022

Men can be more reluctant to talk about their mental health, which could then impact on the likelihood of seeking help and support. Get Men Talking is an initiative to give people the tools to have simple conversations with life saving benefits for themselves, their friends and the community. The aim is to have participants feel better prepared and equipped to help someone in difficulty whilst deepening their own communication skills.

Our combination of FREE Mental Health and Suicide Awareness training taking place in Surrey and online from March 2022 will help spot the signs of a suicide crisis, and teach how to interact and signpost to safety. The benefits of talking are immeasurable.

Suicide remains the biggest killer in men under 50, that means that more men die of suicide in the UK than heart disease, cancer, heart attack or in road traffic accidents. We aim to reduce this by opening up conversation and taking the taboo out of talking about men’s mental health.

For more information and to book your place on our free training, please visit the Time To Change Surrey website.


(Source: Grassroots)

In the UK, 1 in 5 think about suicide and 1 in 15 attempt suicide in their lifetime.

Through education and training, we can better reach out to people when they’re at their most vulnerable.

One in four experience mental ill-health in their lifetime.

Which means there is nothing unusual about having difficulties with mental health. It is possible to recover from mental health issues, and many people do – especially after accessing support.

Suicide is a community issue.

Most people who die by suicide are not in touch with mental health services so we can all do our bit to support each other, spot the signs and save lives.

Get Men Talking is delivered through Time to Change Surrey, a campaign to reduce mental health stigma and discrimination, and commissioned by Surrey County Council Public Health. Get Men Talking is a multi-agency approach that brings together the skills and knowledge of voluntary sector organisations in Surrey; Catalyst Support and Mary Frances Trust and working with Surrey Police. Through the Long Term Plan, NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE/I) expanded the Suicide Prevention Funding Programme to all areas of the country and Surrey County Council made a successful bid for this project.

Around 13 people die by suicide every day in England (Department of Health, 2017). In Surrey there are on average 92 deaths by suicide each year. When someone dies by suicide, the effect on their family, friends and community is devastating. If we want to improve the life chances of future and current generations, we need to address this tragic reality and do more to prevent suicides.

It is recognised that for men, a significant barrier to talking about mental health issues is the stigma they feel about seeking help. National statistics show men are more likely to die by suicide than women, in fact three out of four suicides are men. Construction workers from a range of trades that are often hard to reach (from bricklayers, to groundworkers to plasterers) told researchers in the Mates in Mind and Institute for Employment Studies
research, that the continuing stigma of mental illness prevents them from discussing it beyond close friends or family members. As reported by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the suicide rate among construction workers is already three times the national average for men, equating to more than two construction workers taking their own life every day. Identified as a high risk group, we’re promoting our work to engage with occupations which have a high ratio of both male staff and clients such as builders, merchants, barbers,
footballers and taxi drivers. The project will begin rolling out in three of the highest risk areas for suicide in Surrey; Elmbridge, Woking and Guildford.

The everyday benefits of talking more

  • Releases stress. If and when facing a problem, talking is especially helpful to take some of the weight off of your shoulders and give your thoughts a voice.
  • Strengthens relationships.
  • Allows another perspective on an issue.
  • Allows you to be given support.

Worried about someone else?

  • Be alert – Not everyone who thinks about suicide will tell someone, but there may be warning signs.
  • Be honest – Tell the person why you’re worried about them, and ask about suicide. Tell them you want to know how they really are, and that it’s OK to talk about suicide. Talking about it does not put ideas into their head.
  • Listen – Just listening is one of the most helpful things you can do. Try not to judge or give advice.
  • Get them some help – It’s OK if you don’t know how; the ideas on this page can get you started.
  • Take care of yourself – You may find it helpful to discuss your feelings with another friend, or a confidential service.

Further Resources for signposting in Surrey

(PHONE) The Crisis Mental Health Helpline is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for mental health advice and support. Telephone: 0800 915 4644.

(IN PERSON) Safe Havens across Surrey provide out of hours help and support to people and their carers who are experiencing a mental health crisis or emotional distress, as a safe alternative to A&E.

(MOBILE PHONE APP) Surrey County Council and Grassroots have developed the Stay Alive app, a suicide prevention resource on phones that offers support and a range of useful features.

(FURTHER TRAINING) The Zero Suicide Alliance – a collaboration of NHS trusts, charities and businesses – has also developed free online suicide training. It takes less than 30 minutes to complete and provides the skills and awareness to recognise when someone is contemplating taking their own life and what you can do to help.

(INFORMATION FOR WELLBEING) The First Steps advice and support guide is for anyone aged 18 years or above who is looking to take the first steps to improve mental well-being for themselves, their friends or family members.

Meet the trainers: interviews available upon request

Tom Chapman is an award-winning barber, author, public speaker, global barber director and international educator. In September 2015 Tom founded The Lions Barber Collective, which started as a group of international barbers raising awareness for suicide prevention. It has developed to become much more and now campaigns for the awareness of mental wellbeing and suicide prevention as well, believing that the barbershop is a great, safe place for men to talk, and through BarberTalk he hopes to train hair professionals across the globe to Recognise, Ask, Listen and Help those in their chairs.

Graham Foxwell is a mental health & wellbeing consultant and educator. Graham is the founder of Cedar Tree Mental Health and Wellbeing and has held number of positions from Expert Mental Health Trainer with Surrey & Borders NHS Trust, Emotional Wellbeing Manager for a Youth Charity and Mental health and Wellbeing consultant for a county council project, as well as over 30 years of Youth & Community work under his belt.

Notes to editors

The Surrey Suicide Prevention Partnership is a multi-agency collaboration between health, local government, people with lived experience and the voluntary sector.

Catalyst Support – a non-profit organisation working to promote the wellbeing of people with
drug, alcohol and mental health issues.

Mary Frances Trust – a non-profit organisation working alongside Surrey residents (16+) experiencing any kind of emotional or mental health issues for as long as they need, and inspire them to develop the skills that will help them to restore and maintain their emotional wellbeing.

Time to Change Surrey/End Stigma Surrey – A Surrey-based campaign to reduce mental health stigma and discrimination. Member of the National Suicide Prevention Alliance.


For further information about this project, request interviews or participate please contact: Joe Stroud at  [email protected] or on 07841724938.

More information and course bookings, please visit the Time to Change Surrey website.

You can also download our Get Men Talking leaflet