A SUPPORT group for men aims to "give people a voice" and challenge misconceptions about mental health.

Max's Mates, based in Barry, was launched in January by Josh Goodwin in memory of his friend, Max Webb, who killed himself in March 2020, aged 28.

The group offers a space for men to meet up and talk, and aims to raise awareness of the challenges they can face. It is a "place to talk, listen, be heard" and "somewhere to go to remember you are never alone".

Barry And District News:

Max Webb

Along with a social media presence and a website in the pipeline, the group meets up for an hour (8pm – 9pm) on Tuesdays at St Francis Millenium Centre – with Mr Goodwin hoping to grow the group as restrictions ease in Wales.

“With Max passing away I noticed more and more people say they were dealing with things with nowhere to talk about it,” said Mr Goodwin.

“Max’s Mates is to give people a voice, an avenue to speak, and to know that it’s okay not to be okay.

“People can come along and they don’t have to talk about their feelings if they don’t want to – they can take a break in a nice relaxing environment.”

Although he acknowledged Mind in the Vale offers support, Mr Goodwin wanted to create a local group, with the opportunity to connect in person or online.

For those who don't feel comfortable coming along on Tuesdays, or wish to remain anonymous, a website is being set-up to offer support. 

Max's Mates has had good reception on social media, but Mr Goodwin hopes to encourage more people to the free meetings, creating a community which can enjoy events in the future such as barbecues and sports activities.

Along with ensuring that men have a space to connect, make friends and share what's on their minds, Max's Mates is aiming to challenge the misconception which some have that men should not talk about their emotions or mental state.

“I think we’re getting there [changing the perspective] really slowly,” said Mr Goodwin.

“But people need to talk more about stuff – it can be easier to say ‘lets go for a pint’ than to go and talk.

“It’s normal to feel a bit down at times – more awareness is needed and a space for people to talk.”

Barry And District News: Max's Mates is a Barry-based support group for menMax's Mates is a Barry-based support group for men

Max's Mates meet every Tuesday, 8pm to 9pm at St Francis Millennium Centre on Park Road in Barry. All are welcome, with refreshments available.