On February 24th, Allia held one of its regular community challenges at the Future Business centre on Norfolk Street to explore the issue of men’s mental health.
40% of men won’t talk to anyone about their mental health, so Allia gathered a group of 20 men to tackle the challenge of how to encourage men to talk about and take their mental health more seriously.
Men from the local community spent 12 hours putting their heads together to come up with innovative solutions that could be developed into real life applications to get men talking about their mental health.
The day kicked off with Allia’s head of enterprise engagement Neil Prem, mental health activist Daniel Callaghan, and CEO of the mental health app Rise John Harper leading the way and instantly creating an open environment by sharing some personal experiences and stories about mental wellbeing.
After some initial insight gathering, the group then worked on creating profiles of the types of men who would benefit from the solutions they would be coming up with. This was followed by a two hour brainstorming session and idea creation before pitching and voting on which ideas to take forward. The issues that the group felt were most significant when looking at solutions were identity, stress, relationships and health.
After lunch the challenge participants then created advertisements for the ideas that were voted to be taken forwards as the most innovative solutions. These ideas were then taken to the street and pitched to over 50 men to get immediate feedback on what men would realistically engage with.
The idea that was collectively voted as ‘got to happen’ was a concept labeled ‘Brothers Against Depression’, which will be taken further through Allia’s Serious Impact programme which helps entrepreneurs to shape their idea into a reality.
Neil Prem, head of enterprise engagement at Allia who organised the challenge said the day was an amazing success. “We discovered that when men hear other men talking about their own experiences and challenges, they begin to open up very quickly and start to discuss their own issues. It also became apparent that very often men don’t recognise when they are struggling, and a great starting point is making them aware of common symptoms.” Neil also said “this was the first time many of the men who participated felt comfortable talking about their own experiences with mental health and wellbeing.”
Daniel Callaghan, a mental health ambassador who participated in the challenge said: “This event has been brilliant in every sense. It’s historically very difficult to get men talking about their mental health and initiatives like the Allia challenge are creating incredible opportunities for men to learn about and take their mental health seriously.”
To find out more about the Allia Community challenges, and to see when the next events are taking place, visit our website: www.seriousimpact.co.uk/allia-challenge/