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Thousands join online community aimed at getting men talking

Jack Lucas and Craig Spillane

A Facebook group set up by a Newcastle man to give men a space to talk has thousands of members, in just a few weeks.

Men Unite was started by Craig Spillane, who himself had previously had struggles with drug addiction.

But it was his concerns for others that led him to do it.

He said: "I just wanted to get some of my friends to talk.

"I knew they had issues - some of them were suicidal, some were suffering with depression, some had addiction issues.

"I just wanted a platform where we could get together as men and talk about our problems, and get it off our chests.

"Within days it just spiralled out of control, because there are obviously that many men who are troubled and who need this."

Now there are a group of administrators overseeing the page, which has members from around the world.

They say they have had messages telling them that the group has helped them - and in some cases it has saved their lives.

Jack Lucas, who lives in Stoke-on-Trent, also helps run the page after facing his own struggles with depression.

He said: "I have started to feel much better in the last few years, but I know what it feels like.

"I know what it feels like to be in such a dark place, so I wanted to give something back.

"On the page men were finding it so comfortable just to talk, which has always been a difficult thing with myself and with many men out there.

"I just noticed how easy it was for them to speak, and how people were listening, and there was no judgement and no stigma."

A Men Unite football team has also been started on the back of the page, based in Newcastle.

Now, those behind the page are looking at getting Men Unite registered as a community interest company, and opening a centre that men can go to.

They also want to build a sound booth they could use to record podcasts and film videos.

Just Giving page has been started to help make that a reality.

Craig said: "We want eventually to have a Men Unite HQ, which is a sort of community hub.

"We have got a website at the moment where men can go and be signposted if they need professional help.

"We would like a centre where these men could drop in."

Jack added: "It is going to be informal, a relaxed atmosphere - a bit like walking into a cafe.

"There will be like-minded men there with the same experiences, who they can sit down and have a chat to.

"It is not a medical diagnostic for them, it is just somewhere they can get things off their chest without being judged."

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