A male suicide prevention and awareness charity is opening a new club in Ballingry.

As previously reported in our sister paper, the Dunfermline Press, Tartan Talkers was set up last year by Jackie Walls in memory of her nephew, Scott Taylor. The charity provides telephone support from 2pm until midnight, seven days a week, and also runs a buddy system to help people through difficult times until they have support in place.

The men's mental health charity is now preparing to offer its first club in Ballingry to help men in the area.

Jackie, chair of Tartan Talkers, said: “There has been quite a few suicides in Ballingry recently and staff at the Benarty Centre were concerned and wanted to reach out to organisations to help support the community. They contacted us and we decided that the area desperately needed a place where young men could go and speak to others who were possibly experiencing mental health issues.

“The good thing is the club is on their doorstep and they might see a few familiar faces that will make them feel at ease. We want people to feel comfortable and a safe, familiar environment could encourage men to visit and get a cuppa and a blether.”

Central Fife Times: Tartan Talkers is a male suicide prevention and awareness charity.Tartan Talkers is a male suicide prevention and awareness charity. (Image: Tartan Talkers)

According to the National Records of Scotland’s Probable Suicides 2022 report, the rate of suicide among males is 2.9 times higher than the rate among women in Scotland.

Jackie said on speaking out about men’s mental health: “I think it's a major taboo as there is still a lot of stigma around men's mental health. AMC is doing a great job in diluting the stigma, but it needs everyone to become involved. It needs to be discussed in schools, colleges, youth clubs, workplaces and within families. 

"We need to keep up the momentum and get the message out there that men are human and they cry, they get depressed, and they feel anxious, but they are almost conditioned to be stoic and usually they never explain and never complain, they suffer in silence.

“It is heart-breaking because you nurture and protect your child from birth, but you can't protect them from these demons that rob them prematurely of their life.”

She added: “I think it should also be noted that the waiting time to get support from the NHS is over 18 months, when someone does reach out and is in crisis, they need immediate help and that is where charities like Tartan Talkers and AMC come into play. Our support saves lives.”

The Ballingry club will run every Friday from 7-9pm in St Serf’s Church on Hill Road, Ballingry from November 24.

“This is a great opportunity to have a blether and a coffee in a warm, safe, and confidential space. It's just men talking to men, no formality, no pecking order, no agenda, just a club for men.” Jackie added.