Number of men attending Andy's Man Club in West Yorkshire surges after Paddy Pimblett speech at UFC

The number of men who attended Andy's Man Club in West Yorkshire surged on Monday night - in part put down to an impassioned speech by UFC fighter Paddy Pimblett.

Tuesday, 26th July 2022, 4:30 pm

UFC superstar Paddy Pimblett called on men to speak up and speak out following his victory at the weekend.

He said: "There's a stigma in this world that men can't talk.

"Listen, if you're a man and you've got a weight on your shoulders and you think the only way you can solve it is by killing yourself - please speak to someone. Speak to anyone.

Paddy Pimblett at the O2, London. Picture date: Saturday July 23, 2022. PA Photo. See PA story UFC London. Photo credit should read: Adam Davy/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only, no commercial use without prior consent from rights holder.

"I know I'd rather me mate cry on my shoulder than go to his funeral next week." So please, let's get rid of this stigma and men start talking."

Andy's Man Club is one of the most prominent mental health groups for men in West Yorkshire.

Leeds and Castleford facilitator Andy Wilson told the YEP many men had attended on Monday for the first time following the speech.

He said: "Across both of the Leeds and Castleford groups we have 69 (10 new) and 39 (9 new) who attended respectively.

Andysmanclub sun 2nd feb 2020 Andy Wilson

"It just shows how much the groups are needed and how more and more men are talking if they're struggling.

"The interview with Paddy Pimblett following his fight at the weekend can only have helped raise awareness on how important is for people to open up and talk if they're struggling with anything and a reminder once again that it's okay to talk.

Yorkshire based psychotherapist Roxy Rhodes told the YEP Paddy's speech "elevated the issue of men's mental health into a whole new arena".

"He did exactly what is needs to be done and transformed it into simple terms – just start talking", she added.

"The idea of getting “mental health help” often feels too big for anyone who is already at the point of considering suicide.

"Just talking feels eminently more doable and he brought the decision to get help down to an achievable level.

"The noise the crowd made during his speech shows the impact this had in that very moment.

"The stigma is being attacked by some standout men in sport who are using their platforms to demonstrate that mental health is as important as physical health."

Workplace mental health consultant and trainer Pete White said Paddy's speech was a "brilliant example of pattern interrupt".

"People were expecting Paddy to give the usual post-fight victory speech, but he delivered an incredibly powerful and vulnerable message about mental health", Pete said.

"This, along with a professional fighter, someone we often view as 'tough' and not concerned with mental health concerns, made people sit up and listen.

"We need more people doing this from all parts of society - vulnerability empowers."

All andysmanclub groups meet at 7pm till 9pm, every Monday of the year, apart from bank Holidays and there are 104 groups across the UK and one online for those not near a venue.

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