A MENTAL health charity has revealed its fears over what a potential lockdown could do to its services as it vows never to give up on men in crisis.

Men Matter Scotland is prepared to strip back to minimum contact once again should the trigger be pulled for further coronavirus restrictions in the new year, however, the team are fearful of the impact it will have on those already relying on the Drumchapel-based hub.

Social isolation and financial concerns brought about as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic have seen referrals to the charity skyrocket, with between six to eight new men seeking help from the service each day – and staff fully expect that number to increase if measures are tightened in the coming weeks.

Peter Divers, part of the charity’s board, said the team is ready to tackle another lockdown but admits it will throw a spanner in the works for the group’s long-term plans.

He said: “It’s just getting busier and busier. We only have two staff but we’re hoping to bring in another member of staff in January – of course, that all depends on the situation with restrictions. We’re in a bit of a limbo. The first time [the country locked down], we contacted our MP Carol Monaghan who gave us the green light as a key service because of the work we do there in terms of suicide and mental health.

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“We can still operate under safety restrictions and do some face-to-face services, but it limits us – it limits our numbers, it limits our reach, our programmes, everything.”

He added: “It has a big impact. One of the biggest issues for mental health is social isolation so, the computer for a wee hour or so at first is fine but it’s very clinical and it gets old fast.

“If we need to adapt, we will, but it’s just the waiting to see. We’re trying to change the sails for whatever way the wind blows.”

Men Matter Scotland began just two years ago and, in that time, has helped hundreds of men struggling with mental health related issues.

Since the coronavirus pandemic began, referrals have grown and grown with no sign of stopping.

Peter says men who had never struggled with their mental health before have now come forward after job losses and financial uncertainty plunged them into depression.

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However, as Christmas looms the charity says it is not just coronavirus which is causing problems for individuals across Scotland, as pressure to feel merry on December 25 causes heartache for those struggling with personal issues.

For the second year in a row, the charity is planning to host a Christmas Eve dinner for men who would otherwise be alone over the festive period.

“We did it last year and it was actually really nice,” Peter said. “We had about 20 guys there who would normally be alone.

“We run a clothing bank and a food bank but we’ve also just done a massive toy drive. It’s all open to anyone without judgement or question.

“Although we’re a men’s charity, it’s for anyone. If you feel we’ve got something you need, come and get it.”

He added: “Yes, we have our remit but if I can help a dad give a toy to his wee boy at Christmas that helps him feel good, we are meeting our remit, just in a roundabout way.”

The group has received nationwide praise and was also the recipient of our very own Community Championship commendation.

The area’s councillor Paul Carey said: “I’m delighted to support organisations such as Men Matter Scotland.

“This charity has saved so many lives and they could not do this without the volunteers who turn up 24/7 to help out.

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“They help so many men who have been on the brink of suicide.”

As the group gear up for another busy festive period and prepare for a potential lockdown, Peter’s message to anyone struggling with their mental health is clear: reach out.

He said: “Make contact, reach out to Men Matter Scotland. Don’t be contemplating your life for a temporary problem.

“Tell us your problem. Just telling us will help.

“We’re not doctors, we’re just guys with lived experience but it’s working and we won’t let you down.

“We will do everything in our power to help and, if it’s beyond our power, we will help you get in touch with the people who can do something. You’re not alone in this.”

Staff and volunteers at the charity will remain on hand to help men struggling with their mental health throughout the festive period.

Anyone in need of help or who would like to enquire about volunteering should contact the team at 0141 944 7900 or email contact@menmatterscotland.org.

Alternatively, drop in to the hub at 20 Drumchapel Road.

More information on the help and services the charity provides can be found on its social media pages or its website, menmatterscotland.org.