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Our men’s podcast aims to get more men talking about their mental health

The powerful stories of two local women who lost their brothers to suicide last year will be told in a special edition of a Hampshire men’s mental health podcast this week - to coincide with World Suicide Prevention Day (Friday 10 September).

This week’s episode of Let’s Talk Mate – our new podcast series sponsored by IT company Novatech, will feature interviews with Alice Hendy and Isabella de George.

Alice, from Stubbington, lost her 21-year-old brother Josh to suicide in November 2020 and is launching this week a new online monitoring tool called R;pple to prevent harmful material being searched online and replaced with information on support available.

Alice said: “Josh was always the life and soul of the party and came across as a very happy-go-lucky lad but he was living in turmoil. He had some fantastic friends and family around him that were there to support him.

“In my quest to find answers, I learnt that Josh had been researching techniques to take his own life via harmful internet searches. The content available online following a search of this nature currently provides mental health support in one format: a helpline. I set up R;pple Suicide Prevention to ensure more help and support is given to individuals searching for harmful content online in a way that suits them.”

R;pple is designed to show a selection of mental health resources to a person when they search for harmful information online. Alice added: "I want to ensure that more help and support is given to individuals who are experiencing a mental health crisis and to stop any other sisters waking up and feeling how I feel each morning.

"The tool provides a powerful message of hope as well as a selection of mental health support resources from 24/7, free charities.. An individual feeling despair and researching content will be urged to seek the mental health support that they deserve and need. I want to provide people with a voice, choice, empowerment and control at a time when they are most vulnerable."

The other guest on Let’s Talk Mate this week is Isabella, who is campaigning for change across the UK's universities following the death of her 23-year-old brother Harrison to suicide in December last year. Isabella is working closely with 15 universities to strengthen their policies and wellbeing support for students and has worked with Universities UK to create a framework for universities to follow.

Harrison was a student at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU), studying his PGCE in maths. In his memory, Isabella has set up the Positive Changes in Placement campaign, urging universities to review their policies and well-being support for placement students.

His sister Isabella said: "He was passionate, kind, loving, very intelligent - extremely good at maths, but also art, poetry and the ukulele - he was very popular with friends from university and from home.

"If he was around he would light up the room. A huge hole has been left in the lives of myself and my mum, but also all those that he touched.”

The next episode of Let’s Talk Mate will air on Friday 10 September at 6pm on YouTube, Facebook and Spotify. It aims to get more local men talking about their mental health. Topics discussed have included anger management, parenthood, body image and anxieties from the pandemic.

Rob Eamey, one of the Let’s Talk Mate presenters from Solent Mind, said: “It’s important now more than ever that we get more men to talk about their mental health. In England, around one in eight men have a common mental health problem such as depression and anxiety.

“And three times as many men as women die from suicide, with men aged 40-49 having the highest suicide rates in the UK. Men are less likely to discuss or seek help – so we hope our podcast can help get more men talking, help to reduce stigma and encourage more men to reach out and seek support.”

A new 12-month sponsorship from Novatech will mean the podcast can be better equipped and promoted to a wider audience.

David Furby, CEO at Novatech, said: “We have a long history of supporting charities in raising awareness for mental health, and it’s one of those areas we have pursued within our own business for many years. It's so incredibly important to ensure that everyone is feeling safe and supported in their workplace, knowing that if they ever need to open up about issues arising either at or outside of work, that they will be met with understanding and empathy.

“Over the last twelve months, we've worked closely with Solent Mind to raise not only money but also critical awareness for mental health and well-being, so sponsoring this podcast just seemed like the next logical step in continuing to support them.”

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